Is Your House Alzheimer’s-Proofed?
After discovering that your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may have a series of questions about adjusting to day-to-day life. Are they safe? Does my loved one understand what’s going on? How do I communicate with them? All are valid and pressing questions that our knowledgeable team can address. When it comes to at-home safety, there are specific precautions and needed changes to make your environment safe. We’ve gathered some essential safety tips from Jamie Webb and Kim Wentink, our in-home care experts here at Silverado. Is Your House Alzheimer’s-Proofed?
Register a Bracelet
The MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program is available for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who may wander off, in which case the registered bracelet will have personalized information like emergency contacts and health history. You can register an individual online through the Alzheimer’s Association. “If a loved one wanders off, this bracelet lets whoever locates the individual know that they have cognitive impairment, and also is registered with the local law enforcement to ensure that they are returned home safely.” says Webb. This is a 24-hour emergency response service, and annual renewal is $35.
Install Motion Detectors
Some motion detectors today have video capabilities, and some even have responsive automated voices that can talk back. Wentink suggests installing devices around the house, which helps to have another set of eyes to watch your loved one from wherever you are.
Webb suggests removing all rugs from the household, as they are the number one cause of falls in the home.
Take No Solicitors
Consider posting a “No Solicitors” sign at the front door to avoid any unexpected visitors. Also, have other family members pick up the phone, because a person with Alzheimer’s disease can often be the victim of telephone exploitation. Keep the phone ringer volume kept on low and make everyone in the household aware that the phone should be answered in as few rings as possible. This will avoid possible distraction and confusion.
Set Up Locks
Keep hazardous materials locked up and away from reach. Such harmful materials that can be misused include medications, cigarettes, weapons, plastic bags, remote controls, kitchen or power tools, cleaning products, small appliances, or anything valuable. Consider removing locks from the bathroom in case your loved one locks themselves inside. Password lock electronics and internet access. Wentink says not to keep doors locked to prevent anyone going in and out since this is a dangerous fire hazard. Instead, she says to stick to video monitors and door alarms.
Display emergency numbers in every room and next to all telephones.
Be sure lighting around the house is adequate, including entryways, corners, hallways, bathrooms, stairs, and outside landscaping. Lights with sensors may also be useful.
Have A Spare
Hide a spare house key outside of the house in case a person with Alzheimer’s disease locks someone out of the house.
Prevent fire hazards by keeping electronics on sturdy surfaces, covering unused electrical outlets, and clearing any extension cords, which also minimizes the likelihood of trips and falls. Consider turning off the garbage disposal.
Set your water heater to less than 120 degrees to prevent burns from scalding water.
Install handles and grab bars around the house as safety grips. The handrail for stairways should extend beyond the first and last steps. Webb even suggests a home stairlift. Other helpful safety additions can be bath benches, shower hoses and toilet raisers. To prevent slips, use nonskid adhesives in the tub, toilets, and sinks.
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About the Author
Silverado was founded in 1996 with the goal of enriching the lives of those with memory loss by changing how the world cares for people with cognitive decline. Establishing this mindset as the foundation allows Silverado to operate in a way that provides clients, residents, and patients with utmost dignity, respect and quality of life. Silverado has grown to become a nationally recognized provider of home care, memory care assisted living and hospice services. With 54 locations, the company delivers world-class care in seven states- Arizona, California, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Viginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Learn more at silverado.com or call (866) 522-8125.View All Articles