If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, you likely have a long list of things think about. Home safety should be at the top of that list. As we age, everyday home goods like rugs or electrical outlets can become hazardous. That risk gets exponentially higher for dementia patients, who can easily become disoriented or confused. From slippery bathroom surfaces to dangerous decor, ensuring home safety for dementia patients is an ongoing effort.
Home Safety for Dementia Patients
Assess Your Loved One’s Needs
For most caretakers, it’s easier to remove dangerous items from a dementia patient’s path than struggle to change their long-standing habits. To do that, you’ll want to start with a thorough assessment of their individual needs and behaviors. Dementia patients can be prone to nighttime wandering and other risky behaviors. If that’s the case for your loved one, you’ll want to take special care to remove hazards near their bedroom. Additionally, if your loved one has mobility issues, you’ll want to assess the risks of any stairs, bathtubs, or other raised surfaces. Regardless of your loved one’s disease progression, a careful evaluation of their individual needs is a great place to start.
The kitchen can be one of the most dangerous places in the home for dementia patients. You’ll first want to take special care to disconnect any dangerous appliances like garbage disposals. You should also be sure to remove sharp objects like knives, and install childproof latches on stove knobs and cabinets.
Bathroom surfaces can become slippery and cause people to fall. To prevent falls, start by installing a shower chair, along with helpful grab bars near the toilet and bathtub. Caretakers should also work to prevent bathroom falls with nonskid mats or strips, which can be placed inside and outside of bathtubs and showers. Like in the kitchen, you’ll want to install childproof latches on bathroom cabinets that contain potentially dangerous products like medications and household cleaners. You’ll also want to reduce the risk for burns by lowering the thermostat on your loved one’s hot water heater to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bedroom and Living Room Safety
Many dementia patients are prone to wandering at night. If your loved one lives with you, consider installing a monitoring device near their sleeping area to alert you of any nighttime movement. Other bedroom hazards can include heating devices like space hearts and electric blankets, both of which should be used with extreme caution or not used at all. In both the bedroom and living room, it’s also important to limit decorative objects like breakable glass objects or toxic plants. Finally, be sure to take extra care if your loved one’s home has glass doors. Since glass panes can be easy to for seniors to miss, caretakers should consider covering them with a decal for easier visibility.
Other Household Hazards
While there are several clear hazards that should be avoided, home safety for dementia patients goes beyond the obvious. As you’re assessing your loved one’s home, make sure to look out for any items that could pose even the hint of a threat:
- Sporting equipment
- Throw rugs
- Stairs and handrails
- Paint, fertilizer, and cleaning supplies
- Guns or weapons
- Open outlets and electrical cords
Home safety for dementia patients is an incredibly important part of caretaking. With a little extra attention to areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms, you and your loved one can rest easy.
A memory care facility is a great option if your loved one needs more comprehensive care after a dementia diagnosis. If you are looking for a memory care facility in Riverview, Florida, check out the Crossings at Riverview, located near Tampa, Florida. Our staff and trained healthcare associates work hard to help our residents stay on track with their health goals. We invite you to tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities first-hand. Overlooking the Alafia River on twelve beautiful acres, the Crossings at Riverview offers a relaxing atmosphere, and our talented team is committed to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!