Safety is important for everyone, but individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia and their caregivers need to take particular precautions when it comes to creating a safe environment.
Taking measures to ensure safety at all times can help prevent injuries, and it can help people with Alzheimer’s feel relaxed and less overwhelmed. Evaluate your surroundings for any particular dangers and change them to meet individual needs.
As the disease progresses, the person’s abilities will change, but it’s not difficult to adapt the home to support these changes with some flexibility and problem solving.
Here are some tips to keep your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease safe at home:
Evaluate your environment
A person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia may be at risk in certain areas of the home or outdoors. Pay special attention to garages, work rooms, basements and outside areas. Even the most basic appliance or household object can become dangerous if used in the wrong way.
Beware of dangerous objects and substances
Basic appliances could become dangerous to use for an Alzheimer’s patient. Be sure to take precautions that will ensure these items do not become safety hazards.
• Use appliances that have an auto shut-off feature. Keep them away from water sources (kitchen and bathroom sinks).
• Install hidden gas valve or circuit breaker on the stove so a person with Alzheimer’s cannot turn it on. Or, consider removing the knobs from the burners.
• Store grills, lawn mowers, power tools, knives, firearms, and cleaning products in a secure place.
• Discard toxic plants and decorative fruits that may be mistaken for real food.
• Remove vitamins, prescription drugs, sugar substitutes and seasonings from the kitchen table and counters. Medications should be kept in a locked area at all times.
• Supervise the use of tobacco and alcohol. Both may have harmful side effects and may interact dangerously with some medications.
Avoid injury during daily activities
Most accidents in the home occur during daily activities such as eating, bathing, and using the restroom. Take special precautions at these times.
• Watch the temperature of water and food- it may be difficult to tell the difference between hot and cold.
• Install walk-in showers and grab bars in the shower, tub, and at the edge of the vanity to allow for independent, safe movement.
• Add textured stickers to slippery surfaces. Apply adhesives to keep throw rugs and carpeting in place, or remove rugs completely.
Adapt to vision limitation
Alzheimer’s disease sometimes makes it difficult for a person to tell between colors and understand what he or she sees because of changes in vision.
• Changes in levels of light can be disorienting. Create an even level of lighting by adding extra lights in entries, outside landings, areas between rooms, stairways, and bathrooms.
• Use night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
If you have a firearm in the house there are special precautions you will need to take:
• Keep firearms in a locked cabinet, firearm vault, safe or storage case.
• Lock ammunition in a place separate from firearms.
• Exercise full control and supervision over firearms at all times.
• Operating a firearm demands consistent sound judgment and alert senses. Ask for help from local law enforcement if you are unfamiliar with firearm safety or if you choose to discard the weapon.
• Firearms should be unloaded when not in use.
• Remove the firearm from the living space.
To speak with us ElderCare at Home
Feel free to call us at (888) 285-0093. Thanks for joining us for today’s Tuesday Tips for Caregivers and we’ll see you again next week!