Caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease face great challenges everyday.
Significant time and attention is focused on activities to keep your senior loved one healthy and happy, with their safety a continuous concern.
Home Safety Tips
We have some tips that can help you make your senior’s home, or home away from home if they are visiting, a safer place to let them keep both a degree of independence and as much freedom from injury as you can provide – not to mention providing some peace of mind for their loved ones.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in hallways near sleeping areas on all levels of your home. You should also place one near the kitchen area where stove fires may be a risk. Be sure to replace the batteries regularly.
- Install secure locks on all doors and windows. If necessary, install alarms on key exit points so you can be alerted if your senior loved one attempts to leave the house without your knowledge.
- Find a secure hiding spot for a house key outside of your home in case your senior locks you out of the house. Also keep a spare key handy for any interior doors that may be accidentally locked, such as bathrooms, basement or garage doors.
- Use childproof devices such as outlet plugs, drawer locks on kitchen drawers, medicine cabinet locks, nonskid mats and strips in the tub, etc. These are usually readily available and easy to install. Remove knobs from the stove, oven, washer and dryer. Dismantle or disable the garbage disposal and install traps in kitchen drains to prevent blockages.
- Be sure all stairways inside and outside your home have handrails that extend beyond the first and last step. Install safe, nonskid flooring on the stairs and keep all wooden stairs in good repair to prevent falling. Install grab bars in the bathroom and any other location, such as closets, that might pose a risk.
- Store certain items that can pose a danger out of the reach of your senior loved, including plastic bags, lighters, guns, sharp knives, sharp tools, power tools, alcohol, medications, poisonous plants, cleaning products and chemicals.
- Avoid clutter throughout passageways and living areas, as that can pose a fall risk. Remove portable space heaters or fans. Remove extension electrical cords that can easily be tripped over.
- Maintain adequate lighting throughout the interior and exterior of your senior’s home.
- Remove throw rugs. Eliminate any areas of uneven surfaces that could cause a trip and fall.
- Keep you senior’s water heater at 120 degrees to prevent scalding.
- Place decals on sliding door windows to assure the glass is visible.
- Install a yard fence to allow your senior loved one room to roam. Keep patio areas free from debris, uneven surfaces, chemicals, limit pool access and secure barbecue grill.
Whether or not you can leave your senior loved one home alone after you have improved the safety of his or her home environment is an issue you should discuss with your Alzheimer’s expert or other health care professional. Allow them to guide you and follow their advice for maximum safety.
The changes that you make now may not be all the changes you will need. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, therefore behavior changes in your senior may mean that you will have to review his or her environment on a regular basis to be sure there are no further modifications that are required for safety.
We would love to hear what other alterations or additions you have made to the home of your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s to allow them freedom and safety.