Caring for a loved on with Alzheimer's involves constantly worrying about hazards. The following guide to safety devices is meant to help caregivers identify hazards and make the living environment safe. Explore how you can create safe rooms for your loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementia.
Slipping and falling in a bathroom is a real risk and could lead to serious injury. Therefore, the risk of a fall needs to be minimized. Consider installing grab bars near the toilet, by the edge of the bath tub and inside the shower. Use a non-skid mat in the tub and on the floor adjacent to the tub, toilet and sink. Use a shower chair inside the tub.
In addition to falls, the bathroom also presents a poisoning risk. Install child-proof latches on all cabinets that contain medicine or cleaning chemicals.
For more ideas on how to keep the bathroom senior-friendly, check out our post: Smart Renovations to Make the Bathroom Safer for Seniors.
Kitchens are typically full of hazards. Scatter rugs present a fall risk so remove them from the kitchen. Install child-proof latches on any cabinet or drawer that contains breakable or dangerous items such as:
- Cleaning products
Alzheimer's patients may develop forgetful or unfamiliar behaviors. For example, they may turn on the stove and forget to turn it off. Therefore, it is suggested safety knobs and automatic shut-off switches be installed on the stove.
Since a person with Alzheimer's may put something down the sink drain, it is recommended that you disconnect the garbage disposal. Also, insert a drain trap in the kitchen sink to prevent something from clogging the plumbing. A person with Alzheimer's may eat objects that resemble food but aren't. Remove any artificial fruits and vegetables. Empty the junk drawer so erasers or other items aren't accidentally eaten.
For additional ideas on how to keep the kitchen safe, read our senior kitchen safety guide.
Install a baby monitor in the bedroom so you will be able to hear when help is needed. In addition, attempt to anticipate potential night-time needs and take care of them before bedtime. Consider the following:
Minimizing night-time needs reduces the risk of wandering at night. If wandering is a concern be sure to install secure locks on all outside doors and windows. It may also be a good idea to hide a key outside the house in case your loved one inadvertently locks you out of the house.
Throughout the house and in sleeping areas, install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Verify they are functioning properly by conducting a monthly test.
We know that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia can be a demanding responsibility. Use our Home Safety Assessment for more ideas on how to keep your home safe for your aging senior.