One of the most selfless acts you can do is to take in a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia. While it is sure to be a massive change to your family dynamic, your loved one will no doubt feel safe, secure, and cared for when surrounded by family in a familiar place.
Those who suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia will require not only extra assistance physically but also extra care in maintaining a safe home environment. Maintaining a safe environment can help relieve stress for the caregivers regardless if they are from a home care agency or are just a rotation of family members. For the home to be truly safe for a memory-impaired individual, proper safeguards must be in place to prevent wandering or injury. Here are a few ideas to help protect your loved one at home:
- Install grab bars in the shower and by all toilets
- Have a non-slip mat and shower bench placed in the tub or shower
- Install anti-scald devices on the tub or shower and all sinks
- Remove or replace carpet or area rugs that could easily snag or be tripped on
- Add night lights to hallways and bathrooms, consider choosing ones with a solar sensor so you won’t have to remember to turn them off and on
- Install childproof locks on any cabinets containing medication, chemicals, or weapons
- Consider keeping the car locked and the keys put away to reduce the temptation to drive
- Keep clutter off the floors and put away to prevent trip and fall
- Consider installing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors with strobe lights or vibration features
- Install deadbolt locks on windows and exterior doors to prevent wandering
- Remove locks on interior doors, especially the bathroom, so they cannot accidentally lock themselves inside
- Install outdoor lighting for increased visibility at night
- Have a working fire extinguisher easily accessible in the kitchen
- Install an auto shut off on the stove
- Your elderly loved one should carry identification, a medical alert bracelet, or a Life Alert device at all times in case of wandering or another emergency
- Have a recent photo of your loved one handy so that if they do wander off the police can easily identify them
- If they carry a cell phone ensure that the GPS is always enabled and emergency identification features are updated
When your loved one feels safe and secure in their home life for both patient and caregiver will become easier. Remember that the transition can be tough on everyone involved. Involving your loved one in the process can help them realize that you value their opinion and feelings and reinforce that you are taking steps to keep them safe, and are not treating them like a child. With a little time, a lot of love, and some extra care around the house you and your loved one will settle right into the new living situation.
If you’re caring for a loved one with memory impairment we can help. Contact us today about in-home Alzheimer’s or Dementia senior care.