It can be incredibly beneficial to dementia-proof your home when looking after a loved one with dementia. Even if your loved one is still independent or isn’t showing serious symptoms of dementia, you should consider making their place of residence a dementia-friendly home as a precautionary measure.
Are you unsure what Alzheimer’s safety entails?
Are you looking for some good dementia-friendly ideas for the home?
Whether it’s putting up dementia-friendly clocks and signage or installing door locks for Alzheimer’s patients, there are many things you can do to create a more dementia-proof home. And if your loved one ever needs hands-on care 24 hours a day, there’s always professional home care available.
In this article, we’re talking about dementia safety at home. As you read, you’ll learn valuable information regarding how to safety-proof your home for elderly loved ones with dementia.
Keep reading to check out our dementia home-safety checklist.
Note: Since Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, we’ll be using the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” interchangeably to describe any memory loss disease brought on by old age.
How to Dementia-Proof Your Home
Most people who have dementia often struggle with:
- Wandering or getting lost
In the later stages of dementia, these symptoms can increase in severity. Late-stage dementia can also affect an individual’s motor functions, hindering their ability to move around or perform activities like feeding themselves.
Many dementia-friendly home ideas help minimize the frustrations and safety concerns that can arise.
Below is a dementia home-safety checklist that will help you think about making your home a dementia-friendly home.
1. Multiples of Common Items
One way to Alzheimer’s-proof your home is to purchase multiple sets of commonly used household items.
Individuals with dementia often forget where things are or where they placed items. Having many different sets of everyday household items around the house can make finding them easier.
Some items to consider are:
- Kitchen utensils
- Reading glasses
- Office supplies, like scissors, pens, and pencils
You may not know right away what you need. Be aware and keep a list of items that are regularly used but often misplaced.
2. Dementia-friendly Clocks and Signage
It’s a good idea to purchase some dementia-friendly clocks and put up helpful signs around the house.
People with dementia can have a tough time remembering the date or time of day. Not knowing these two pieces of information can cause confusion or disorientation.
There are many different types of dementia-friendly clocks that display the date and time in large, easy-to-read font sizes. Consider purchasing one for your loved one’s room or other commonly used rooms.
Another one of our dementia-friendly home ideas is placing helpful signs/labels around the house and on cabinets or doors. These signs can help your loved one find items quicker and navigate around the house easier.
For instance, you could place a large “Bathroom” sign on the bathroom door. Or, you can label cabinets and drawers with the items that are in them (e.g., “plates and bowls,” “spoons, forks, and knives,” “cups”).
Anything you can do to make finding things or navigating the home easier for someone who is forgetful is an excellent way to dementia-proof a home.
3. Wandering Prevention
People with dementia are prone to wandering and getting lost. Even familiar places and locations can suddenly become unfamiliar and disorienting. The nighttime is a prevalent time for individuals with dementia to wander.
Two ways to provide dementia safety at home when it comes to wandering are:
- Purchase and install a monitoring device
- Install door locks for Alzheimer’s patients
Elderly Monitoring Devices
There are many monitoring and GPS devices you can use to keep an eye on your loved one.
You can install a home video device that provides continuous real-time footage of your loved one. In addition, some video devices offer motion-sensing technology, which can be good for outdoor use.
Other devices employ GPS tracking so you can know your loved one’s exact location if they wander away. Many GPS devices also come with emergency buttons that your loved one can press to notify responders in the case of an emergency.
The exact device you use will depend on your needs and situation, but it’s good to know what’s available as these tools can provide greater safety for dementia patients.
Door Locks for Alzheimer’s Patients
If your loved one is known to open doors and wander outside the home, you can dementia-proof your home with dementia door locks.
Many different Alzheimer’s door locks exist, and most don’t require a key or heavy installation. Instead, they simply utilize technology that’s difficult for people with dementia to use but easy for family members or caregivers to open.
4. Fall and Injury Prevention
Late-stage dementia often affects an individual’s physical mobility and stability.
To ensure dementia safety at home and decrease fall risk, you may want to consider:
- Cleaning and clearing clutter on floors
- Making sure throw rugs and carpeted flooring don’t have bumps
- Installing or tightening handrails on stairs
- Placing non-slip strips on wood stairs and in the bathroom
- Increasing the lighting in commonly used rooms
- Putting up railings or help-aids alongside your loved one’s bed
- Fixing any cement, asphalt, or stone-like walkways that have uneven surfaces
- Installing stair gates for adults with dementia to block them from using stairs
Even though you may not be able to prevent every possible fall or injury, putting some preventative measures in place can decrease the risk and severity of these occurrences.
Expert Help Creating a Dementia-friendly Home
A dementia-proof home is vital to ensure Alzheimer’s safety for your loved ones while they’re at home. It provides them with a place that’s comfortable and easy to navigate. A dementia-friendly home reduces the risk of injury and decreases frustrations as dementia progresses.
If you’re wondering how to safety proof a home for an elderly loved one, you can follow this dementia home-safety checklist:
- Purchase and place multiple sets of common household items around the home
- Place dementia-friendly clocks and signage throughout the home
- Install elderly monitoring devices or door locks for Alzheimer’s patients
- Ensure your loved one’s place of residence is well-lit and free from fall risks
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be rewarding but also challenging. Family caregivers can find themselves overwhelmed and burnt out with care duties, especially during the later stages of dementia.
At Stowell Associates, we provide exceptional in-home care for elderly adults and much-needed respite for family caregivers. Here are three ways we come alongside family caregivers and their aging loved ones:
- Care Coaching: Care Coaching is a virtual, one-on-one relationship between you and an experienced eldercare professional. Your Care Coach will talk with you for 75 minutes each month and help you create a care plan for your loved one.
- Respite Care: Respite care is a service where a caregiver comes to your home and provides the hands-on care your loved one needs. While the caregiver is attending to your loved one, you’re free to care for yourself.
- 24-hour Care: If your loved one needs care during the day and night, you can get them 24-hour care. One caregiver will spend time with your loved one during the day, and another will be with them during the night.
Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor and learn more about caring for a loved one with dementia.