Home safety tips for people living with Alzheimer’s disease

    Everyday triggers can result in frustration, anxiety, fear and agitation for a person living with Alzheimer’s disease. Practical solutions can assist the person to feel safe and secure within their home.

    Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can include the loss of or reduction in senses, which can be detrimental to the person’s judgement. Warning signs such as a bad odour when food is off, or heat radiating from a frying pan may not be noticed.

    Here are some ways to address these issues:

    • Ensure that every room is well-lit at all times. Nightlights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways are recommended. Promote natural lighting as much as possible.
    • Replace flickering light bulbs immediately.
    • Have good lighting above “task” areas such as sinks or in front of wardrobes.
    • Install a tempering valve on the hot water system to reduce the temperature of hot water going to the whole house. Alternatively, this can be installed closer to the taps to control the temperature of the hot water going just to the bathroom.
    • Regularly check the use-by dates on food and discard any that are out of date.
    • Check hearing aid batteries and replace when necessary.
    • Ensure smoke detectors are installed and regularly checked.

    Lock up or remove these potentially dangerous items:

    • Medicines
    • Alcohol
    • Cleaning and household products, such as paint thinner and matches
    • Poisonous plants
    • Scissors, knives, power tools, and machinery
    • Fuel cans and other dangerous items.

    Avoid falls by taking simple steps such as:

    • Adopt a minimalist approach to furnishings and items lying around the home. Remove any unnecessary pieces.
    • Maintain a familiar environment and resist frequent moving of furniture items.
    • Install a sturdy handrail on stairways, and grab bars in the tub/shower and beside the toilet.
    • Only use rugs with non-slip backing.
    • Ensure floor coverings, including rugs and mats, are similar in colour and tone to support movement from one area to another.
    • Don’t leave any electrical cords lying around loosely.
    • Clean up spills right away.
    • Safety knobs and an automatic shut-off switch on the stove.
    • Use plastic plugs for unused electrical outlets and latches on cabinet doors or consider installing non-handle magnetic cabinet doors so that they don’t look like a cabinet door.

    Re-evaluate the safety of the person's home as function and abilities change.

    Churches of Christ Care Home and Community Care offers a home maintenance and modification service to help make homes safer and more secure living environments. Find a service in your area.

     

    Posted December 14, 2016 in Lifestyle blog