With a diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s, families need to start planning. One of the biggest decisions is about where the person will live. Most prefer to stay in their own homes, if possible. However, staying at home does pose some risks as there are many things in a home that become dangerous to a person living with Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, there are some things people can do to make their homes safer for those with this condition.
One thing to do is investigate the home from top to bottom to see potential hazards. Look for things such as loose handrails, unsecure rugs and carpets, and potential tripping hazards. If there are guns in the house, are they locked up? Is the hot water set to a temperature that wouldn’t cause burns? Are there any car keys lying about if the patient can no longer drive safely? There are things to check for and be vigilant about.
There are some additional safety changes to make as well. One is putting special locks on certain doors, adding safety knobs to stoves, and removing mirrors in areas that might cause a distraction. It might also be a good idea to install a walk-in shower to avoid injuries. Keep hazardous materials such as laundry detergent, cleaning products, and medication locked away as well. It might also be necessary to add extra lighting in walkways to keep them from being dark and disorientating.
The most important thing to figure out, though, is who will provide care for the person. While many family members would volunteer, it’s important to remember that caregiver burnout is real. Studies show that one in three caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s report a decline in their own health versus one in five for caregivers of seniors without Alzheimer’s. It’s important to have a solid plan when dealing with Alzheimer’s.