Home safety tips to dementia proof your home
Home safety is important for all seniors, but it’s especially critical for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These conditions cause changes in the brain that turn simple household items into serious safety hazards.
That’s why it’s so important to dementia proof your home. We found a comprehensive checklist by Nurses Unlimited that helps you make the house safer for someone with dementia.
Accidents are more common than you think
We’ve heard scary stories about accidents that were just barely prevented. One example is from a caregiver who happened to check on her husband while he was getting ready in the morning. He was about to use a straight razor as a toothbrush! They had been in the same drawer and his Alzheimer’s disease caused him to choose the wrong item.
In that case, the caregiver was lucky to be able to prevent a horrible injury. But there are other times when accidents do happen. That’s why it’s so critical to dementia proof your home before something bad happens. As Ben Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Checklist to dementia proof your home
This helpful checklist by Nurses Unlimited helps you make the house safer for a person with dementia.
It covers each room in the house, plus the garage, and advises you on essential safety changes to make. The usual senior home safety items are covered, but the best thing about this list is that it also includes important things you probably haven’t thought about.
For example, many caregivers haven’t heard about these 10 common home hazards:
- Dark rugs may seem like “holes” that can’t be walked on.
- Busy patterns can cause agitation, confusion, or fear.
- Poisonous plants and decorative items that look like food might be eaten.
- All sharp items need to be locked up out of sight, they can easily be mistaken and used as safe items.
- Cleaning supplies need to be locked up, they may seem like food or drink.
- The stove needs to be secured against accidental use.
- The fridge needs to be regularly cleaned of spoiled food that could be eaten by mistake.
- Water heaters need to be set to a temperature that won’t scald because they don’t know to pull away.
- Door locks to their bedroom should be removed so they can’t accidentally lock themselves in.
- Items like gas grills, lawn mowers, or weed trimmers need to be secured or locked up.
Prioritize the list and take it one step at a time
These, and many other safety tips, are included in this comprehensive checklist. It may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do everything at once. Prioritize based on your older adult’s behavior and take it one step at a time.
For example, if they spend a lot of time in the bathroom and kitchen, start there. If they’re fearful or agitated in a certain part of the house, look for triggers in that space. If they’re starting to try to leave the house, start by securing all doors and outside gates.
It’s unrealistic to assume that you can watch your older adult at all times. This list is meant to keep them safe even though Alzheimer’s or dementia has robbed them of their good judgement and understanding of how to use everyday objects.
Recommended for you:
— Use This Guide to Help Seniors Stay in Their Homes
— How to Help Someone with Alzheimer’s Brush Their Teeth
— 3 Ways to Respond When Someone with Alzheimer’s Says I Want to Go Home
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: The Sunday Times
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