As symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia progress, patients become less able to live independently and care for themselves. Some behaviors and changes can lead to dangerous situations, such as wandering out of the home alone or failing to comprehend the dangers of hot stoves and pans.
Assisted living provides a safe and comfortable environment for Alzheimer’s patients to live in. But some people may prefer to stay in their own home, perhaps with a family member or professional carer looking after them. If you are in this situation with a loved one suffering from dementia, then here are some essential safety tips for the patient’s home.
- Grab bars/safety rails – Install grab bars or safety rails around the house where appropriate, e.g. in the bath/shower and next to the toilet. This helps to prevent falls and aids their mobility.
- Toxic materials – Keep all cleaning products and any other toxic or hazardous chemicals locked away or out of reach to prevent them from ingesting harmful materials.
- Dangerous objects – Similarly, lock away or keep all sharp or otherwise dangerous objects out of reach, such as kitchen knives and garden tools.
- Medication – Keep medication locked away or use automatic/timed pill boxes to prevent the patient from taking too much medication.
- Household locks – To prevent wandering out of the house and potentially into the street, install latches or deadbolt locks high up on doors, out of reach. To prevent your loved one from locking themselves in bathrooms, etc., remove internal locks like these.
- Trip hazards – Remove or cordon off anything that could be a trip hazard, such as cables and rugs. Keep the house tidy and clutter-free.
- Large furniture – Secure large, tall furniture to the wall so it cannot be tipped over, such as bookcases and shelving units.
- Security features – Regularly test all security features, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and burglar alarms.
- Hot water – Limit the temperature the hot water can reach or install a safety faucet to prevent your loved one from scalding themselves.
- Slippery surfaces – Install non-slip flooring, especially in the bathroom, or add textured stickers to the bathtub/shower to prevent slips and falls.
- Glass doors – To prevent your loved one from walking into glass doors, apply clearly visible stickers to the door at their eye level.
- Gas appliances – Consider switching off the gas when not in use to prevent the patient from using potentially dangerous appliances like the stove. Alternatively, apply safety knob covers to the stove to prevent its use.
There may be a lot to think about during an already difficult time, but a few simple changes can make the home of someone with Alzheimer’s a much safer place to be. If you need support caring for someone dementia or are considering assisted living, then contact Brookstone of Woodruff to find out how we can help.