How to Keep your Parent with Alzheimer’s Safe at Home
Alzheimer’s seems to affect everyone differently. What stage your loved one is in and what part of the brain has been affected will determine just how many of these changes and safety measures you will need to make in their home. Start with what is needed now—you can always address additional modifications as new changes warrant them.
Making your Parent’s Home Safe.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, your parent may forget how to do everyday tasks. You will know that it’s time for you to take over if they become increasingly agitated or frustrated when attempting to perform certain activities, or if their safety is at risk.
The Home in General.
Make sure your parent’s home is well lit and free of clutter. Install nightlights in strategic locations. Place strips of colored tape on the edge of stairs. Their eyesight may eventually be affected in odd ways—such as the world appearing as a still picture instead of a moving motion picture. Contrasting colors will help them see specific items. For instance, make their couch a different color than the rug and the wall behind it. If they start seeing faces in patterns on fabric or wallpaper, it is best to remove it and replace with a solid color. Mirrors can also become confusing to someone with Alzheimer’s. They are often best removed and replaced with soothing pictures such as a calming scene of a tranquil beach or a mountain peak.
Eventually, it will be best for someone else to provide their meals. If they can still cook and enjoy the process, you may want to consider one of the motion sensor stove controls on the market. If the stove is on but no motion has been detected for a specified period of time, the stove is automatically turned off. Alcohol and medications may need to be kept in a locked cabinet as well as dangerous items such as knives and matches. To the same end, disconnect their garbage disposal. Remove items that your parent may see as edible such as artificial fruits and vegetables or food-shaped kitchen magnets. When serving food, make sure that it is not the same color as the plate.
The bathroom is one of the main areas where accidents occur. Make sure that the toilet is not the same color as the rest of the room so that it is easily detected. Install grab bars that are different colors as well in places like the shower and by the toilet. Remove any throw rugs (here as well as the rest of the home). Make items easily accessible and clear out or lock up any medications or other items that your parent could ingest such as cleaning products, liquid soaps, shampoos, lotions, and toothpaste. Remove the lock so that they don’t accidentally lock themselves in the bathroom. Install single faucets that mix hot and cold water and set the water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns.
Senior Care Provider.
At some point in time it will be difficult for your parent to stay home alone. Before that time comes, consider the services of a senior care provider. They can get to know your parent as your parent is getting to know them and design routines that will help your loved one feel a sense of safety and security in their ever changing world. “It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.”—Jackie Joyner-Kersee
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Princeton, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.