As the disease progresses, people with Alzheimer’s become less and less able to take care of themselves. For this reason, it’s important for their caregivers and family to take preventive measures to ensure that their home and surroundings are as hazard-free as possible. Here are some steps that you can take to make your home safer for your loved one with Alzheimer’s:
General Safety Tips for the Home
- Remove Potential Fall Hazards: These include furniture that could slip away if a person leans on it for support, extension cords and other wires or cables that could trip someone, and clutter on the floors of rooms and hallways. Loose carpets and throw rugs can also be hazards.
- Minimize Risk of Injury: Replace glass tables with solid furniture that has rounded, not sharp, edges and corners. Place a soft mat by the bed to cushion any falls. Place childproof covers on electrical outlets.
- Store Away Certain Items: Pay attention to items that may pose a danger to your loved one or may exacerbate confusion. This includes such items as alcohol, medicines, dangerous tools, guns, plastic bags, and chemicals. You might also want to place important documents or bills in a safe location.
- Pay Attention to Entryways: Mark the edge of the front steps with reflective tape or consider replacing the steps with a ramp. Make sure handrails are available in either case. Remove any tripping hazards, such as hoses.
Safety Tips for the Kitchen
- Place Childproof Latches on Cabinets and Drawers: Put locks on cabinets and drawers that contain potentially hazardous items such as cleaning products.
- Lock Away Knives and other Sharp Kitchen Tools: Your loved one may not be able to recognize how to properly use those things and could harm themselves, so keep them away.
- Remove the Knobs from the Kitchen Stove
- Install a Drain Trap to Catch Items Dropped in the Sink: You might also want to consider removing or disabling the garbage disposal.
Safety Tips for the Bathroom:
- Remove the Lock on the Bathroom Door: This way, your loved one can’t be locked in the room.
- Install Grab Bars and Rails Around the Bathtub, Toilet, and Sink: To further help prevent a fall, place a non-skid mat in the tub and even a bath seat.
- Keep Medications Locked: Keep them in a locked cabinet and lock away all cleaning products as well.
- Lower the Temperature of the Water Heater: Bringing it down to 120 degrees will prevent burns from tap water used in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Remove Electrical Appliances from the Bathroom: If they want to use a hair dryer or electric shaver, have them do so outside the room and away from any water.