This is many ways is just as bad as when your own kids were toddlers. Keeping some with Alzheimer’s safe is most often about protecting them from themselves.
And in the same way that you “child proofed” your home when your first child began to walk, you now have to “senior proof” your home to keep your loved one safe.
The following will be some basic tips that will give you some peace of mind as a caregiver to know that you are creating as secure an environment as possible for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s…
Over time, the person suffering from Alzheimer’s will become less able to handle daily tasks around the house that were once very manageable. As an example, they may not remember…
- If they turned off the oven
- Left the water running
- To stay away from dangerous things such as certain machinery (think lawn mowers) and certain chemicals and household cleaners.
- Where things are in their home. For example, they may begin to misplace items in unusual areas…such as leaving their car keys in the laundry.
As a caregiver, you can do many things that will make your home safer for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s…
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the kitchen and all bedrooms
- Place emergency phone numbers and your home address near all telephones
- Add safety knobs on the stove and a shut off switch
- Childproof plugs should be added to all unused electrical outlets
Lock Up or Remove From The Home…
- All medications, even the over-the-counter variety. You can die from taking too much aspirin
- Wine, alcohol and other spirits
- Any type of cleaning products (ie: bleach) or other dangerous articles like lighters and matches, knives, scissors or power tools
- Small throw rugs (they are very easy to trip over)
- Any weapons…such as a licensed gun
Tips and Ideas To Keep The AD Sufferer Safe
- Simplify your home. Too much furniture can lead to problems, especially if the AD sufferer also has mobility issues
- Make sure the handrail is sturdy if the home has stairs
Other Safety Tips
Alzheimer’s sufferers are easily confused. They have the additional problem that their senses…sight, smell, taste…may not work as they once used to. To that end, here are a few more tips to alleviate some of the concerns of Alzheimer’s caregivers…
- Make the wall and floor different colors. The different in the contrast colors will make it easier for the Alzheimer’s sufferer to recognize this and make mobility easier.
- Remove curtains and rugs will busy patterns that may confuse them
- Mark the edges of steps with bright tape so that they can see the steps as they go up and down
- Use brightly colored signs or simple pictures to label the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen
- Be careful about pets in the house. This is just another obstacle that the AD sufferer could trip over
- Limit the number of mirrors in the house as a reflection of themselves could confuse the AD sufferer to thinking someone else is in the home with them
- Use top-of-the-line smoke detectors. ad sufferers sometimes lose their sense of smell and will not smell the smoke of a fire
- Check the frig and see if the food in there is still good
- Reset the water heater to 120° F to prevent burns
- Write the words “hot” and “cold” on the faucets…and color code them red and blue…to prevent burns
- Think of the items in the home that are dangerous…the oven, toaster, iron, etc…and label them in a simple way. One good idea would be to put a stop sign label on them this way it acts as a visual deterrent.
- Pad any sharp corners on your furniture, or replace or remove furniture with sharp corners, just as you would do with a toddler
- Keep sugar, salt and spices away because AD sufferers can easily use too much
- Lock up toothpaste, shampoo and perfumes because those may smell like food to the AD sufferer
- Keep the number for the local poison control center by the phone
- If the person has aspiration issues, make sure that you have taken some form of Red Cross CPR or first aid class so that you can help them in a choking emergency
- Don’t play the TV, DVD or Music too loudly …and especially don’t play more than one at the same time. This creates an environment where the AD sufferer is easily confused
- Shut the windows of the house if it is noisy outside
And let me pass along one final tip. If the person with Alzheimer’s has a tendency to wander, you may want to consider putting an alarm on the front door that will sound if it is opened. If they are living with you, this will let you know they opened the door and can help you to prevent a wandering episode.
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