Safety is of utmost importance for everyone, but the need for a comprehensive safety plan is crucial for patients with dementia. Especially for patients of Alzheimer’s!
Taking measures to improve safety can prevent injuries and help patients of Alzheimer’s feel more relaxed, less overwhelmed and much confident in spending time at home.
Remember that Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that requires continuous management. A patient suffering from Alzheimer’s can’t manage it without assistance. So, a caregiver needs to take charge to make the environment safe and friendly for a patient of Alzheimer’s.
Just because you are providing care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s it doesn’t mean your life is over. It’s obvious that you will have to go out for work, perform routine errands around the house, go grocery shopping and even hang out with your circle of friends. In trying to manage all of that, it becomes difficult for you to constantly look out for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. So here is a home safety checklist you can follow to ensure the safety of an Alzheimer’s patient.
Evaluate Your Environment
A person with dementia may face confusion and disorientation which is why evaluating the environment and then making it simplified for patients is important. It is advised to take a tour of the indoor and outdoor environment your loved one will live in. Try seeing things from your loved one’s perspective, paying special attention to areas where there are more likely to be things which might be harmful to them, such as chemicals, cleaning supplies, tools, sharp utensils and anything else you think can cause them harm.
It may also be helpful to get in touch with your local Alzheimer’s Association. These organizations help evaluate the environment of your loved one living with Alzheimer’s and then point out all potential risks to take action on.
P.s: Remember to make notes on the changes you need to make!
Reduce The Risk Of Falls
As you walk through your home, look out for areas that may cause your loved one to fall or trip. If there are stairs, ensure that there is a handrail. You may want to consider installing a handicap accessible bathroom or walk-in shower. Removing tripping hazards such as floor lamps, extra wires, and coffee tables will greatly minimize the risk of a fall. Ensure that the floors and walkways are always cluttered free.
Avoid Safety Hazards In The Kitchen
Believe it or not, but a kitchen can be one of the most dangerous places for an Alzheimer’s patient. From sharp utensils to a stove and even food can cause harm to the patient. Installing a hidden gas valve or circuit breaker so the patient cannot turn it on is a great way to ensure the safety of the patient. Keep utensils and sharp instruments out of reach of the patient. Ensure that the table and counters are clear of all things to stay on the safe side!
Securing A “Danger Zone”
Choose a place to keep all “dangerous” items. This is helpful for both you and the patient as the patient won’t be able to get to it and you won’t have to run around finding misplaced things. Things to include in this place may be alcohol, cleaning products, power tools or anything that could be mistaken as something else. Ensure that this area is locked at all times to keep your loved one away from potentially dangerous items. It may also be useful to use child locks on cabinets (especially medication cabinets) and drawers that may include laundry detergent or electrical appliances.
Employing specialized technology for Alzheimer’s patients can help keep your loved ones safe and give you peace of mind. Telecare tops the list of technology for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s actually an amalgamation of a number of technologies.
Telecare is a system that remotely monitors people who are living with a disease, without a caregiver. Through this system, they can easily get help and support of a caregiver whenever they want it. In this system various technological devices are interconnected via telephone line or internet, providing services to the people. Generally, telecare systems include community alarms, movement detectors, and video conferencing.
Telecare comes in various forms and may be used in a variety of situations like:
1. Community Alarms
This technology employs the use of a pendant that the patient wears. This pendant has a button that can be pressed when the patient is in need of something. Let it be the patient falling, them forgetting directions to home or whatever, all they have to do is press a button!
2. Medication Reminder
Telecare also provides assistance to the patient to help them take their medications on time by providing the service of medication reminder. Automatic pill containers are linked to a call center. If the medication is not taken on a set time, an alert is sent and the patient is contacted to remind them to take their pills.
There are some bathroom plugs that can be installed in the toilet that detect water level. The bath and sink safety plugs work using a pressure activated system. When an unattended bath reaches a certain depth the pressure plate opens and releases the excess water safely down the waste exit or plughole prior to flooding – this level will be maintained until the taps are turned off. When the desired level is reached the pressure plate will close again leaving you a filled bath. Hence if the water level reaches a level which is thought be dangerous for the patient or may lead to overflowing of water and hence cause slips the plugs can automatically drain the water which can prevent mishaps. Moreover, they come with heat sensors too! Yeah, that’s an additional benefit for them. If the water temperature rises to a set temperature they change their color which can prevent scalds.
Taking care of a patient with Alzheimer’s can be a difficult task but Abudo has provided this checklist to help make it easier for both you and your loved one.
Safety is a real concern for those with Alzheimer’s Disease, due to symptoms of the disease that may put your loved one at particularly high risk for accidents and falls in the home which is why conducting a complete safety check of the house, implementing safety measures and being cautious at every step of the way is important.
So take charge today, guarantee safety for your loved one and help them live better.