Make your home safer for a family member with Alzheimer’s

Should a person with Alzheimer’s be kept in an old age home or specialized facility where they are looked after by medical experts? Or Is it possible for such a person to safely stay in their own home?
Well, it is possible to make your home safe for such an individual so that they can stay in a familiar space with their family. Alzheimer’s Disease is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that affects the memory and thinking skills of a person. The depletion of brain cells causes various physical and mental changes in individuals. Changes such as forgetfulness, loss of cognitive skills and the inability to perform day to day activities are to be expected. They might also be fearful or distrustful of their surroundings and can also face balancing issues. However, these issues can be managed if the family and caregivers consider all possible changes and make an effort to keep them safe. Also, there needs to be close monitoring as Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder.

Here is a checklist that you can use as a reference point:

The first and foremost step is evaluating your home. Declutter the house to make movement inside the house easier. Place sponge lining on furniture edges, bright neon or glow-in-the-dark marking on stairs and replace patterned curtains with a plain one. A person with Alzheimer’s is unable to perceive depth, make sound choices and has difficulty understanding instructions. Excessive wallpaper/curtain patterns and wall mirrors can cause confusion so these are better avoided.

The bedrooms: The person will undoubtedly be spending a considerable amount of time here. You can make sure that the place is not cluttered and the electric sockets are covered. Also, avoid doormats, throw rugs or slippery mats here as they can trip/slip and fall. You can also install a baby monitoring device in the room so that you can reach out whenever needed and avoid accidents. Also, take care to keep medicines under lock and key so they do not unintentionally overdose on any. Avoid keeping electrical devices in the room like heating pads or electrical blanket etc.

The Bathroom: With the presence of water and soap in the bathroom, there is a considerable risk of slipping and falling. Make sure to install anti-slip mats here to prevent any kind of slipping and falling. Installing handlebars near the shower area can help the elderly by providing support when they need it. Understand their need for raised toilet seats or shower chair and invest in one. Alzheimer’s require long time care and these can come in handy. It is possible for them to accidentally lock themselves in and so remove all locks on doors to the bathroom. Also, make sure to install childproof cabinets in the bathroom. A ground fault circuit interrupter that can switch off power supply when wet and avoid passing on the shock is also advisable. To prevent scalding from extremely hot water, make sure to set the thermostat of the geyser at a lower level.

The kitchen: Invest in sturdy child locks and lock away all dangerous items that include knives, forks, cleaning chemicals, matches, plastic bags, etc. Do not keep artificial fruits and vegetables here and make sure to install a hidden safety valve for gas pipelines.

Caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s is quite similar to the care you would give to an infant or a toddler. Loads of love and patience is the key to a successful and stress-free atmosphere at home. Do take time to assess each and every room in the home as well as the furniture and fixtures to ensure a safe haven for your loved one.

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