Caregivers have quite a bit that they are responsible for, and often this includes safety. When you are providing care for a loved one who has dementia or Alzheimer's though, there are specific hazards that may need to be addressed. Since September is World Alzheimer’s Month, it is a great time to spread awareness and provide a guide to help caregivers learn exactly what to look for when it comes to home safety for someone who has dementia. Keep reading to learn more.
If you have a friend or family member who has Alzheimer's or other related dementias, your loved one may likely want to stay in their own home for as long as possible. This means that it is important to make sure their home is as safe as possible while they are there. There are a few simple steps that can be taken to remove hazards so that your loved one can maintain their independence for as long as possible.
- If your loved one has stairs in their home, it may be time to make sure that there is at least one handrail, and that it is as safe and sturdy as possible. You can also put safety grips on stairs, and even mark the edges of steps with brightly colored tape so that they are more visible. Loved ones with dementia often suffer with depth perception issues that tend to get worse with time, so these safety measures should be taken care of as soon as possible.
- Cover unused outlets with safety plugs to prevent overloading of breakers. You may also consider safety latches on certain cabinet doors.
- Unclutter busy rooms to make them a little less stimulating, and a little easier to navigate. You may also want to remove small rugs, cords, and anything else your loved one might trip over.
- Repair any broken items and pay attention to lighting in each room. Make sure your loved one has good lighting for reading, but nothing so bright that it is overstimulating. For example, some fluorescent lighting may hum and can be annoying. It can also be a very harsh light that creates an overstimulating environment.
- Swap out curtains, rugs, or wallpaper that have busy patterns for something more solid and relaxing. These patterns can be very confusing and overwhelming to those who are living with dementia or Alzheimer's.
- Remove or lock up cleaning products or flammable chemicals such as paint thinner or matches. The last thing you want is an accidental mixture.
More Complicated Repairs
Something that many family caregivers experience as their loved one’s try to navigate through life with dementia or Alzheimer's is that their home often falls into disrepair. It is also sometimes necessary to retrofit a home to be more accommodating to a loved one’s needs. This can include ramps, widened doorways, and so much more. There is often assistance available for the costs associated with these repairs, it simply takes some research. You may consider hiring a handyman to stop by the house on a set schedule so that anything that starts to break down can be taken care of. This way the home stays in tip-top shape.
If you need resources, Homewatch CareGivers of Silver Spring is always here to help. We can provide you with recommendations, as well as checklists and further tips that may be helpful. If your loved one needs help maintaining the safety of their home, a professional respite care provider can help with small tasks such as cleaning, running errands, and ensuring that safety features that you put in place are checked on regularly. We are the experts you can count on when it comes to finding the resources your loved one needs to continue to live with dignity. Contact us today to learn more or continue to browse our site for more information.