Home Safety Adjustments

Seven Tips to Alzheimer's-Proof Your Home

Sara Suchy Mar 30th, 2012 (updated May 16th, 2014)
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When an Alzheimer's patient moves into a home many considerations and adjustments must be made to ensure their safety and security. Follow these tips to keep your home safe.

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Locks
Locks

People with Alzheimer's tend to wander out of their homes into places that are now unfamiliar to them.  To prevent this, install child-proof locks well above eye level to keep them from leaving the house unattended.  It is also wise to put locks on cabinets or rooms with dangerous objects in them to prevent injury.

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Auto shut off feature
Auto shut off feature

Oftentimes, people with dementia or Alzheimer's will forget to turn appliances such as coffee makers, ovens and curling irons off after use.  Whenever possible, use appliances that have an auto shut off feature.  Also, consider installing a hidden gas valve or circut breaker on ovens so patients cannot turn them on by themselves.

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Toxic plants and RXs
Toxic plants and RXs

Remove all toxic plants or anything toxic that could be mistaken for food.  It is also wise to remove or secure (with a childproof lock) any prescription or harmful medications and monitor any drugs Alzheimer's patients are prescribed.

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Avoid slips and falls
Avoid slips and falls

It is easy for the elderly (whether they have Alzheimer's or not) to slip and fall on slippery surfaces such as the shower or bathroom floor.  To prevent this, install hand rails wherever appropriate to avoid falls.  It is also wise to install a walk-in shower to avoid trips and falls.

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Adapt to visual difficulties
Adapt to visual difficulties

Most aging people will experience some level of vision loss.  To accommodate for this, ensure that adequate and equal lighting is present in every room of the house.  It is also helpful to have contrasting colored rugs in front of doors or steps to help them anticipate staircases and room entrances.

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Secure firearms
Secure firearms

Account for and secure all firearms and other weapons in one place. Lock away ammunition and store it separately from firearms.  Exercise complete control and responsibility for the weapons at all times.

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Create a routine
Create a routine

People with Alzheimer's and Dementia generally do well when they have a daily routine or schedule to follow.  It is helpful to familiarize them with the schedule and post it clearly where they can see it and follow along.