Is Your House Alzheimer’s-Proof?
Keeping a loved one with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia safe at home can be much less challenging when following a few basic steps. The tips below, provided by Silverado at Home's Kim Wentink and Jamie Webb, will provide some simplw ways to secure your home and reduce the risks your loved one faces.
When it comes to at-home safety, there are specific precautions and changes that can help make your environment safe and “Alzheimer’s-proof.” Here are some essential safety tips from Jamie Webb and Kim Wentink from Silverado At Home.
- Register a Bracelet
The MedicAlert + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program is available for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who may wander off. You can register an individual online through the Alzheimer’s Association. This is a 24-hour emergency response service, and annual renewal is $35.
- Install Motion Detectors
Some motion detectors today have video capabilities, and some even have responsive automated voices that can talk back. Installing these devices around the house helps you watch your loved one from wherever you are.
- Remove Rugs
Rugs are the number one cause of falls in the home.
- Take No Solicitors
Consider posting a “No Solicitors” sign at the front door to avoid any unexpected visitors. Also, have other family members pick up the phone because a person with Alzheimer’s disease can often be the victim of telephone exploitation.
- Set Up Locks
Keep hazardous materials such as medications, weapons, plastic bags, remote controls, kitchen or power tools, cleaning products, small appliances, or anything valuable locked up and away from reach. Consider removing locks from the bathroom in case your loved one locks themselves inside. However, do not keep doors locked to prevent anyone going in and out since this is a fire hazard. Instead stick to video monitors and door alarms.
- Emergency Contacts
Display emergency numbers in every room and next to all telephones.
Be sure lighting around the house is adequate, including entryways, corners, hallways, bathrooms, stairs and outside landscaping. Lights with sensors may also be useful.
- Have a Spare
Hide a spare house key outside of the house in case a person Alzheimer’s disease locks someone out of the house.
Prevent fire hazards by keeping electronics on sturdy surfaces, covering unused electrical outlets, and clearing any extension cords which also minimizes tripping. Consider disconnecting the garbage disposal.
Set your water heater to less than 120 degrees to prevent burns from scalding water.
- Prevent Slips
Install handles and grab bars around the house as safety grips. Stairway handrails should extend beyond the first and last steps. Other helpful safety additions can be bath benches, shower hoses, toilet raisers and even a stairlift. To prevent slips, use nonskid adhesives in the tub, toilets and sinks.
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