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In Home Safety

3/28/2011

Since people with dementia often have the desire to wander—both inside and outside—many of the safety tips are designed to keep the person from tripping and falling as well as from leaving the house undetected.

1. Remove any furniture that the person might trip over, including foot stools, magazine racks, and coffee tables. However, once these changes have been made, make it a point to not rearrange furniture as it might cause confusion.

2. Place a gate at the top and bottom of staircases and make sure it is not so short that it can tripped over. Stairs can be very dangerous for people with dementia, particularly the entrance and exit, so consider adding some sort of color contrast to the top or bottom step with paint or color strips.

3. Place a hidden key somewhere outside as people with dementia can misplace their own keys and inadvertently lock out an in home caregiver.

4. Place locks out of the normal line of vision on doors—either higher or lower than usual.

5. Outdoor areas should be fenced in and bodies of water should be fenced off.

In addition to these physical home care resources, in home caregivers should also keep in mind that sometimes just talking can help a person with dementia. Topics that evoke feelings of safety—a mother, a home—can be reassuring.