No matter your age, safety is always a priority. We take safety measures when we drive or ride in a car. Parents look out for their kids’ safety knowing that children are not always capable of looking out for themselves. As people enter adulthood, we have a better sense of how to keep ourselves safe. However, that can change when we reach old age, particularly if seniors have some form of dementia.
Seniors affected by dementia experience declines in cognitive ability and memory. This can make it unsafe for them to be on their own because they cannot care for themselves or remember things as well as they once could.
Because of the comfort it provides, home is viewed as the best place for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to receive care. This familiarity can make a significant difference on the individual’s reception to care. But the thought of letting a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia stay at home can be concerning for loved ones.
While it is true that the home presents dangers for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, there are potential dangers in nearly every setting. The important thing is to recognize the hazards within the home and work to limit the harm they present.
Continue reading to learn about the dangers a home may present to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and how to make a home safe for them.
Where in the Home Can it be Unsafe for Dementia Patients?
The home is viewed as a sanctuary that provides people with a safe, comfortable environment. However, homes can be filled with hazards that can make it unsafe. This can especially be the case for dementia patients who do not have the memory and cognitive abilities to live at home alone safely.
Certain areas can post greater threats to people’s safety. Knowing this, be mindful and attentive if your loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia are in these sections of the property.
The stove and oven are two of the biggest safety hazards in a home due to the heat they produce. Leaving these appliances on and unattended can easily lead to a fire, and it is a scenario that could become a reality if dementia patients try to use either one.
They can forget they are using the appliance, causing something to burn. Alzheimer’s and dementia patients may even harm themselves by forgetting to use an oven mitt when handling something hot.
Due to the presence of water, bathrooms can be dangerous. Your loved ones cannot care for or clean themselves without proper assistance. They may slip and injure themselves while bathing or showering. Overly hot water can harm them, too. If any electrical appliances and devices are used in the bathroom, there is also the potential for electrocution.
Many bathrooms also contain cleaning supplies. These often consist of strong chemicals that should not be inhaled or mixed with other cleaning products, so you need to be cautious about their accessibility.
How Can I Make a Home Safer for Dementia Patients?
Even with unsafe areas and items in a home, it is still possible for those affected by dementia to safely receive dementia home care. You just need to take the proper measures to prioritize your loved one’s safety.
Modify Household Locks
Locks serve two purposes: to keep things/people out and/or to prevent people/things from getting in. When caring for seniors who have dementia, you want household locks to keep them safe inside of the house but not locked into certain rooms. Knowing this, evaluate the locks in the home.
Consider removing locks from bathrooms and bedrooms so that dementia patients cannot accidentally lock themselves in. Alter locks on exterior doors by moving them to either a high or low level. This makes it tougher for individuals with dementia to unlock these doors and leave the home.
Store Dangerous Objects in Locked Cabinets
Locks or childproof latches should also be added to cabinets and drawers where hazardous items are being stored. This can include kitchen knives, scissors, cleaning supplies, electrical devices, medications, and matches or lighters among other things. With such measures in place, dementia patients cannot easily access and misuse these products.
Add Extra Safety Measures
Adding more light sources and removing tripping hazards, such as throw rugs, is a good place to start when making a home safer for a loved one with dementia. Furthermore, use childproof plugs to cover up unused electrical outlets.
For non-carpeted flooring, prevent slips and falls by adding wax or nonskid strips. If stairs do not already have a handrail, install one.
In the kitchen, consider replacing appliances with ones that use an automatic shut-off feature. Otherwise, install safety knobs that prevent dementia patients from turning on the stove or oven.
In the bathroom, install various grab bars to provide necessary support features. Add a nonslip mat in the bathtub and nonskid strips to the bathroom floor. A shower chair and handheld shower head can also be of great use.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Services from Assisting Hands Home Care
By using the aforementioned information and tips, you can provide your loved one with a safer home environment. But do not stop there. If seniors have Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, it is important for them to receive dementia home care.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we offer Alzheimer’s and dementia care services in Dallas, Richardson TX and surrounding areas, to help care for those individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease or a different form of dementia. We can provide live-in caregivers who will live at home with your loved one, providing them with necessary care and assistance throughout the course of the day. We also have 24-hour home care that ensures your loved one receives professional care at all times of the day.
All of the caregivers we employ have the necessary training and experience to provide effective dementia home care, so you can feel at ease knowing your loved one has the help they need.