Ensuring Alzheimer's Safety at Home
Alzheimer's will steal a persons memories but it doesn't have to take away their chance to live safely at home. Maintaining a familiar environment is best for people suffering from Alzheimer's. With minor home modifications, you can keep a home safe for your loved one living with Alzheimer's and related dementias.
A Personal Response System is critical in ensuring your loved ones safe. Thanks to digital innovation they come equipped with fall detection, ability to work away from a home base, automatic notifications, geo fencing and live tracking in case they wander, become confused or fall. Look for those life saving features for peace of mind. Knowing side effects of medication, getting vision, and hearing checked routinely are important factors in preventing falls.
EXTERIOR OF THE HOME
Cracks and uneven areas in the sidewalk/driveway and stairs are trip hazards, repair them to reduce fall risk.
Does the door have a round door knob? Change it to a lever style and remember to exercise the hands.
Stairs are often difficult or impossible to navigate as the disease progresses. Build/install/rent a ramp, if space is limited consider the ramp can go back and forth.
Hand rails are a necessity, preferably on both sides. If there is an existing rail be sure it is secured tightly.
Trim down bushes and tress that partially block access to areas around the exterior of the home
Install motion detecting lights in dim areas and grab bars/rails if there are any step to areas such as the path to the garbage.
Install a lockbox and register the number with local police and EMS for emergency access.
INTERIOR OF THE HOME
Ensure extension cords are not tangled and laid across a traffic area.
Throw rugs are something that we recommend should be completely removed. The risk is not worth it.
Install motion detecting lights in dim areas, bathrooms and halls as well for those night trips to the bathroom.
Check that your lightbulbs are the brightest wattage for the recommended light fixture or Install additional fixtures.
Use contrast on stair edges and glossy counters to create visual depth.
Declutter every where by clearing floor pathways, and removing excess furniture to prevent further confusion.
Glue down loose carpet edges and repair uneven surfaces.
During holidays, family gathering & visits be sure to keep floor areas clear of shoes and bags.
Often over looked is the inside of the fridge & pantry. Regular clean out will prevent consumption of food past their expiration date.
Add exterior labels to the fridge reminding the senior what time to eat.
Install stove alarms to detect forgotten burners or disconnect the stove all together.
Label faucets with Red for HOT and Blue for COLD and Install water alarms as reminders to turn off the faucet.
Turn down water temperature to allow for hot water but to prevent scalding.
Grab bars next to the toilet are important to assist with safely sitting and getting back up again.
Raised toilet seat that fir securely is much easier to use.
Grab bars at the entrance to a tub or shower as well as inside the tub /shower are critical due the slippery nature and movement that can throw you off balance. Be sure your soap & other items are able to be reached without bending or twisting.
Hand held shower nozzle is far easier and will maintain a seniors ability to manage their personal grooming as long as possible.
Slip resistant mats and stripes help keep your footing on the slippery surface of the shower/tub. If the mat doesn't grip securely it creates more of a risk than not having one.
Rugs must have good grips, if they are cracking or the back is worn the slipping creates a trip hazard. Remove them because they are a safety hazard.
Shower seat is a must have just in case.
Personal Response System with fall detection can save you loved ones life.
The majority of people prefer to age in place, for those with Alzheimers and dementia it is even more important to maintain a safe familiar environment as long as possible. With some continuous monitoring and thoughtful planning, including simple modifications your loved one can live safely in the comfort of their own home.