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Make Your Home Safe For Loved Ones With Memory Loss

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Make Your Home Safe For Loved Ones With Memory Loss

Beth Bowers

Beth currently lives in Shelby Township with her husband, Brian, and two kids, Sophie and Sawyer...

Beth currently lives in Shelby Township with her husband, Brian, and two kids, Sophie and Sawyer...

Aug 29 5 minutes read

We are pleased to share a guest blog with you today. Jim Vogel started ElderAction.org as a means to provide resources to seniors and to adult children and caregivers who are caring for senior parents. He is passionate about spreading awareness to improve senior living. 


Make Your Home Safe For Loved Ones With Memory Loss

Millions of people all over the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and more and more family members are stepping in to help by bringing their ailing loved ones into their homes as their disease progresses. It’s critical to create a safe environment for someone with this disorder, but fortunately, the modifications loved ones may need to make to their homes are often inexpensive, and many can be done without the help of a contractor. Here are some tips on how to prepare and improve your home so you can take better care of your loved one.

Safety First

If your existing home doesn’t meet the needs of your senior loved one, you’ll need to make the necessary adaptations for safety so you can rest easy and have peace of mind. The bathroom and kitchen, for examples, tend to be the most used and dangerous rooms in a home because of  easily-accessible electrical appliances. Use child locks and easy-grip bars -- especially in the shower and next to the toilet -- so they can get around and only use safe instruments. Alz.org recommends that you “install a hidden gas valve or circuit breaker on the stove so a person with dementia cannot turn it on.”

Basements, garages and outside buildings are also hazardous because they usually contain chemicals, tools and even weapons. Make sure to install a safety sensor for the garage door so that it doesn’t hit them if they move too slowly through it or stand under it as it is closing.

Clear Walkways

Walkways should be free and clear of objects and well-lit to prevent them from falling or becoming disoriented. Specifically, look for objects that are low to the floor as well as any cords that could act as a tripping hazard.

Place bright, large decals on any glass sliding doors or walls made of windows so they don’t walk into them. Preventative measures such as removing the locks within rooms of the home should be taken so they don’t get trapped and panicked in them. However, locks leading to an exit should be secured, perhaps even with a passcode so they don’t wander off and get lost. In case of an emergency, communicate with your neighbors about the needs of those living with you so they can help as well.

Schedule Medication

Keep a watchful eye on medications that are in the home. It may be easiest for your loved one’s pills to be organized in a day-of-the-week container, but all of them should be put away so they are not taken incorrectly.

Maintain Independence

 While those with Alzheimer's are often afraid and forgetful, it’s important that some of their independence is maintained in your home. In order for them to be able to complete tasks by themselves, label things with texts or images so they know the purpose of a room or drawer. A list of emergency phone numbers, instructions for various household equipment, and a wearable alarm system are also helpful aids. Touches of familiarity will go a long way to make them feel at home. Pictures of loved ones and beloved furniture could help make them feel secure and in control. Make their bedroom cozy and a place for rest.

Stick To The Routine

Watch for what triggers their emotions and simplify your home to avoid confusion, as Alzheimer’s often affects a person’s ability to make good judgment calls. The Mayo Clinic suggests that on moving day, you try to stick to their routine as much as possible in order to prevent overwhelming them with too much change. This is a huge transition for both you and your loved one, but with a little patience and a positive attitude, you’ll be able to enjoy safe, meaningful time together.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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