Creating a Safe Environment for a Loved One with Dementia
Many adult children in Michigan are forced to make the tough call on when a parent living with dementia is no longer safe living alone. For some families, the next step is bringing their parent to live with them. If your family is preparing to make this transition, finding ways to safety proof your home is key.
5 Steps to Creating a Safe Environment for Someone with Alzheimer’s
Here are some suggestions that can help you improve your home to help a loved one with dementia be successful:
1. Establish a supportive routine
For the sandwich generation, this may be one of the most difficult hurdles you face if you have young children or teenagers living with you. Picking up one child from soccer practice, dropping another one off at ballet, all while eating sandwiches for dinner in the mini-van might be a typical day in your life. For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, however, a day like that can increase agitation and contribute to restlessness, wandering, and sleepless nights. Try to organize your day so that most your loved one’s activity happens earlier in the day. That might mean using an in-home caregiver to stay with them in the afternoon and evening when you are busy with your kids’ activities
2. Evaluate potential safety risks
Because of the damage the disease causes, someone with more advanced Alzheimer’s may not have good judgment. That means things that the rest of us would recognize as risks don’t register as such with them. It is best to keep firearms, hunting knives, and potentially dangerous tools locked up.
3. Invest in a home security system
If a loved one living with Alzheimer’s will be moving in with you, an alarm system that can alert you when an exterior window or door has been opened is a good investment. Many security companies recognize the increased demand for aging-in-place products and have integrated GPS tracking bracelets or necklaces in to their package options as well.
4. Upgrade your lighting
People with Alzheimer’s often develop problems with their vision. Having better lighting is one way to compensate and keep them from falling. Make sure hallways are well-lit, staircases have good lighting, and that there are nightlights in place in bedrooms and bathrooms.
5. Use in-home technology
One of the advantages Michigan caregivers have over past generations is how much technology can do to enhance safety. Curling irons, coffeemakers, irons, and other small electronic appliances with automatic shut-offs are easy to find. There are also products specifically designed to support those with memory loss. They range from alarms that shut the stove off if a pan has been left unattended too long to personal locators that send an alert to the caregiver if the user has wandered out of their designated safe zone.
We hope these tips help you get started on creating a safer, more supportive environment. If we’ve missed anything, please share it in the comments below!