Aging and dementia can cause a variety of changes in the body and mind that affect one’s physical and mental abilities. These can make even a familiar home environment a dangerous place for an elderly loved one. Impaired judgment may make it difficult to remember how to operate household appliances.A confusing or deteriorating sense of place and time may make it difficult to recognize areas of the home or neighborhood. A decline in physical abilities, such as impaired balance or mobility, may make navigating the home more difficult and dangerous. Changes in the senses will affect vision, hearing, and other perceptions of an individual’s surroundings. In the face of all these changes, it is very important to assess the potential danger in your loved one’s living space and make appropriate adjustments to keep them safe.
One of the first steps to making a home safe for those suffering from dementia is to ensure that the home and its inhabitants are prepared for emergencies. This includes making sure that all of the home’s safety devices are operating effectively. Your home should have working fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. It is also important to keep a list of emergency numbers and addresses in a place that is easily visible or accessible.
Keeping potentially dangerous objects or substances in spaces that are not easily accessed is crucial in keeping your aging loved ones safe. Keeping dangerous areas of the home locked or hidden is an important step in fostering a secure living environment. It may be necessary to cover doors and locks that lead to certain areas that could pose risks to those suffering from dementia. These may include entrances to stairwells, kitchens, workshops, garages, or storage spaces. Dementia can affect an individual’s ability to assess a situation, identify potential dangers, and even identify familiar people. This is why disabling and removing from reach guns and other weaponry is imperative for the safety of dementia patients and the rest of your household. Even necessary medication can pose a danger to individuals who are unable to keep track of the appropriate dosage. Keeping medication in a pill organizer and locked away in a cabinet or drawer will ensure that medication is being taken by the appropriate party in the appropriate amount.
There are several changes that may need to be made to your home itself, depending on the severity of your loved one’s dementia and physical impairments. Placing deadbolts out of sight or reach, either extremely high or low, on doors that lead outside of the home will prevent your loved one from wandering outside. It is also important to remove locks from interior doors to rooms that your loved ones will access, such as bathrooms and bedrooms, so that they are not able to be locked inside. Removing tripping hazards or unnecessary clutter and keeping walkways well-lit will help to prevent falls and reduce disorientation and confusion.
Taking these simple measures to bolster your home’s safety will allow you to keep your loved ones at home until it is time to call Senior Care Centers.