It’s important that caregivers ensure our loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia live as independently as possible but also safely. We can help by monitoring our loved one’s home to make sure it is as safe a space as possible. Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s increase a patient’s risk for injury, whether through poor judgement, problems with balance, or memory issues. It is much easier to change the environment around the Alzheimer’s patient rather than try to change the behavior of the person. Here is a list of safety tips for you to consider.
Store Hazardous Materials Out of Reach
Just as you would do with small children, it is best to store any dangerous materials out of sight and out of mind. Cleaning supplies, medications, and any other hazardous materials should be stored high in cabinets. Make extra sure your hazardous materials are away from your loved one by locking the door and placing the key somewhere out of reach.
Cover All Hot Surfaces
If there are any radiators, pipes, or heaters out in the open, those need to be covered safely to make sure your loved one doesn’t suffer any serious burns. Many people with Alzheimer’s can be forgetful, so even if you tell them to avoid something hot, they may not remember the warning. Make sure the hot water heater is set to a lower temperature than usual to avoid scalding, should the water get turned all the way to hot.
Install Auto-Shutoffs on Appliances
It may not be wise to let a person with Alzheimer’s cook unsupervised. If you cannot turn the stove off completely, consider installing auto-shutoffs on your loved one’s appliances. Electronics that can get hot, like stoves, coffee pots, hot plates, and slow cookers should all be considered unsafe unless they have an auto-shutoff installed.
Make Bathroom and Stair Safety a Priority
Bathrooms can be dangerous places for senior adults. Make sure you install hand rails along the walls of your loved one’s bathroom and in the shower as well. Put a non-skid mat in the bathtub or shower. Use a raised toilet seat.
Staircases are also dangerous places in the house. Remove all clutter from around and on the stairs to help prevent trips and tumbles. Make sure all areas with stairs have handrails. If your loved one can no longer be around stairs safely, block off all areas with stairs. Make sure all paths to each room are clear and clutter-free.