Home Safety Precaution Tips for Seniors with Alzheimer's Disease

Home Safety Precaution Tips for Seniors with Alzheimer's Disease

It’s well known that one of the most common effects of Alzheimer’s disease is disorientation and confusion. As the disease progresses, the worse these side effects will be. Instead of reacting after something happens to your loved one, it’s better to be proactive and have a plan for what’s to come. Create a safe environment by preparing your home for the sake of your loved ones with this illness. 

So, where do you start? Here are some of the best safety precautions you can employ to make your home easier to navigate for someone with dementia. 

1. Improve Your Stairway 

Studies show that one of the most common causes of accidents in Alzheimer’s patients is stairs. In addition, there are instances that they lose focus, especially if they are in deep thinking coming from all their disorientation. With this, the National Institute on Aging recommends the placement of handrails on both sides of the stairway to guide the elderly when going up and down. 

When applying this in your home, ensure that you onboard them with this new feature. Instruct them to hold both rails simultaneously to lower the chances of falling. 

Another good strategy that can further support those with dementia is adding lighting, or even just glow-in-the-dark tapes, on the stairway’s step edges. This will assist them to see the steps clearer, especially at night. 


2. Set Up a Danger Zone

For safety purposes, ensure that dangerous tools and items are far away from those with dementia. This is because they might confuse these things with something else as brought about by their condition. The best way to go about this is to set up a danger zone. 

To start, choose a place that is not accessible to most people. These may be on the corner of your house or an area where people do not usually stay. It can also just be a small cabinet where locks can be applied. Once you have decided where that will be, pool in all your dangerous items. These may be as simple as laundry detergents or cleaning products and can be complex, like medication, power tools, and alcohol. 

After collecting these, arrange them in an organized manner. For instance, don’t put the laundry detergents and medication together since chemical reactions might happen. Also, do not put matches and alcohol together to avoid any fire in the house. Then, the last step is to ensure that it’s all locked up and only a maximum of two people have the keys with them. 


3. Foolproof Your Bathroom

One of the most common places where accidents happen is the bathrooms. This is even more dangerous for those people with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some of the most effective ways on how you can foolproof your bathroom: 

  • Install grab bars in selected areas to avoid any accidents, especially when the floor is wet. For example, you may strategically install it near the bathtub and toilet and even on the shower side. 
  • Lower water temperature to below 120 F since heaters are known to be a hazard for seniors. This primarily stems from the fact that seniors are not usually familiar with how these ‘contraptions’ can be adjusted whenever they use them. 
  • Another dangerous aspect of bathrooms is the slippery surfaces. It’s unavoidable to experience some spills while taking a bath in the shower. Therefore, it is essential to place non-skid mats or strips both in the bathtub and shower area to avoid any complications. You may also opt to put these non-skid strips on the floor near the shower, sink, toilet, and bathtub.
  • Consider removing door locks from doors, especially bathroom doors, to avoid any locking incidents in the future. 


4. Maximize Technological Capabilities

Technology plays a huge role in our everyday lives nowadays. With this, you need to maximize its capabilities to keep your loved ones safe and ensure that you have enough peace of mind when you’re not with them. 

For one, there are motion-sensor alarms that you can install in your homes that will send you an alert should the person with Alzheimer’s disease steps out of the house. This is critical since there are really instances where this happens, coming from the confusion and disorientation brought about by the illness. By proactively addressing this, it will be easier to manage should this problem occur in the future. 

There are also video monitors that you can set up in strategic rooms. For instance, you may place these in hazard-heavy rooms like the bathroom and kitchen so you can monitor the movements of your loved ones while they’re in that area. It’s also recommended to install this device in the bedroom if they’re already experiencing dementia. There are times that they might need your help, and this is an easy and helpful way to respond. 


5. Mark Windows, Glass Doors, and Furniture

With all the confusion happening, there are times that these individuals hurt themselves by bumping furniture. On other occasions, they even miss glass doors and windows, given their transparency. The best way to go about this problem is to mark your windows, glass doors, and furniture with decals, so it’s easier for them to spot these items. Ensure that the signs are within eye level as well for more accessibility. 

senior woman and a nurse hold hands


6. Avoid Clutter

If you’re living with someone with dementia, it’s important to take note that clutter is a number one no-no. The first reason is that these are potential hazards that might accidentally hurt these individuals. Second, they might mistakenly identify these things as other tools, leading to accidents in the long run. 

Listed below are some tips on how you can avoid clutter: 

  • Keep extension cords organized to reduce the chances of tripping. 
  • Remove both indoor and outdoor plants, which might be toxic if consumed. 
  • Limit decorations in the room. 
  • Avoid putting toys on the floor. 

Home safety precautions are an important aspect if you’re living with someone with dementia. However, if the illness is at an advanced stage already, it’s also good to note that there are Alzheimer’s assisted living in different areas, which you can work hand-in-hand in tough situations like this. Just ensure that while they are there, your support and love are still felt by your loved one.

  • Senior Health, Senior Living,
  • November 01, 2021
  • By Admin