Providing a Safe Home Environment for Alzheimer's Patients

By Denise Clark

Re-Published with permission by AgingCare.com - the Community for Caregivers

When caring for someone afflicted by Alzheimer's disease in a home setting, caregivers must take a critical look at the living environment. Adapting the home to prevent accidents and ensure optimal safety for your loved one is paramount. It is sometimes necessary for a caregiver to place himself of herself in the position of the person suffering from Alzheimer's to help anticipate possible concerns or dangers. Caregivers will find that such approaches will be dependent upon the person for whom care is being provided.  The most important aspect of caregiving in a home is safety and security, for both patient and caregiver.

In the long run, adapting the home environment is much easier than trying to adapt behaviors that may be exhibited by a loved one in various stages of the condition. Making necessary changes within the home environment may not only decrease physical hazards, but also reduce the amount of stress that is places upon both the caregiver and the care receiver.

Creating a Safe Living Environment

When assessing a home or apartment for someone suffering from Alzheimer's, one of the most important things to consider is preventing access of use to areas or equipment that may harm the patient. Such dangers include:

  • Hazardous areas within the house
  • Basements and garages and tool sheds
  • Kitchen and bathroom appliances

A person suffering from dementia may not be able to rationalize the difference between safe and unsafe. Locking doors that lead to areas that contain tools, equipment, or materials that may prove harmful to the patient is necessary.

Removing electrical equipment or appliances from the bathroom and kitchen area will help to reduce the risk of electrical shock. Something as innocuous as a kitchen blender may cause injury to someone suffering from cognitive function and loss.  To prevent accidents, knives and cooking implements should also be stored in a safe, secured location and cooking appliances in the kitchen can be made safer by removing knobs or installing hidden circuit breakers and gas valves.

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