People in the early stages of Alzheimer's are often capable of living on their own provided they make certain alterations to their home.
Quick adjustments to home
- Pick a few, key places to post lists of emergency phone numbers (on the fridge, next to the person's bed)
- Make sure the senior has smoke detectors and alarms that are fully functional. As an added precaution against fire, purchase appliances with automatic shut-offs as people with Alzheimer's sometimes forget that they are cooking something.
- Install night lights in hallways and rooms for better visibility. Use colored tape or paint to make stairs more conspicuous to the elderly.
- Store a person's valuable or important belongings in the same places in their home so that they don't have too work hard to remember where they put things. Use labels to mark drawers and cupboards.
As Alzheimer's progresses, it will likely become necessary for a person to either enter an assisted care facility or move in with family members.
Tips to ensure your home is safe
- Keep medications out of sight and in a secure, preferably locked, cabinet or drawer that a person with Alzheimer's can't access.
- Arrange furniture in a simple manner and don't move things around too much. Alzheimer's often impairs people's ability to accurately place themselves in time and space, so switching up room layouts too often may confuse and distress them.
- Make sure to remove potential tripping hazards like rugs, clutter, and furniture that is low to the ground.
- Install grab bars and railings in places that could be slippery or difficult for a person to maneuver in like bathrooms and closets.
- Consider installing a removable hand-held shower head. People with Alzheimer's can become disoriented and anxious because of the loud splashing and hard spray of a conventional shower.
- Take the dials off of stoves and other potentially dangerous appliances so that a person with dementia doesn't injure themselves or start a fire.