The day-to-day worries of providing care for someone you love with dementia are continuously evolving. Today, the difficulty may be frustration because of the lack of ability to communicate effectively. Tomorrow, it might be wandering and trying to go “home.” There could be sleepless nights if sundowning is a factor, or aggressive words and actions which come seemingly out of the blue.
Through all of it, safety is key, and that starts with making sure the home environment is favorable to the specific needs of a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. A good first step is to take a quick walk-through appraisal of your home to find issues such as tripping hazards (cords, clutter, loose throw rugs, etc.), insufficient lighting, or the dangerous storage of hazardous items (knives, cleaning products, etc.).
Then, our experts in Alzheimer’s care in Denver and the surrounding area suggest implementing any or all of these Alzheimer’s home safety ideas that might help your loved one:
- Use labels. Labeling frequently-used items, either with words or pictures, can help jog the individual’s memory and increase independence. Place labels on the cabinets and refrigerator to identify what is inside, in the bathroom with simple details for the morning routine, as well as on the older adult’s closets and dresser drawers.
- Contrast colors, but minimize very busy patterns. Using contrasting colors such as a white plate on a navy placemat assists in easing visual confusion, and also remember that bright patterns may bring about overstimulation, or increase delusions and hallucinations; for example, the senior may envision bugs moving across a busy pattern on the bedspread or rug.
- Pay attention to doorways. Keep any doors securely locked that could result in harm for the senior, such as the door into the basement or garage, and the front/back entryway doors. But leave other doors inside the house open, so that the older adult can more easily navigate through the rest of the home.
- Place photos strategically around the house. Pictures of loved ones and happy memories that you can point out and talk about together often helps a senior loved one see the home as a positive environment, and can also act as a distraction when needed from challenging behaviors or moods.
- Keep frequently-used items easy to access. The TV remote, cups and other utensils, a favorite blanket or pillow – anything the older adult wants to have on hand often – should be left somewhere front and center for the person to spot easily, or, kept in a labeled location to lessen frustration.
- Install a raised toilet seat, non-slip mats, and grab bars. If you don’t currently have these safety items set up in the bathroom, now is an ideal time to reduce the threat of falls.
Abby Senior Care’s skilled care professionals are available to complete a walk-through of your house as well and to make further recommendations to increase safety and comfort for a senior with dementia. Contact us online or give us a call at 303-699-8840 for more information about our expert Alzheimer’s care in Denver and the surrounding communities.