Caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer's can be rewarding — and stressful. Follow these home safety tips to help keep your loved one out of harm's way.
Home safety is important for everyone, but this is especially true if you're caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease in your home. A throw rug or a stray toy on the steps could easily cause a fall or injury.
To prevent stressful and dangerous situations, consider these home safety tips for caregivers. Periodically, it might be helpful to request a physical therapy referral for a home safety evaluation.
Evaluate Home Safety
Start by thinking about your loved one's behavior, abilities and health. Can your loved one safely use stairs? Does he or she wander or get up at night? Has he or she fallen before?
Then check each room for potential hazards and make a note of changes you'd like to make. Keep in mind that changing the environment will likely be more effective than trying to change your loved one's behavior. Changes in abilities need to be reevaluated periodically as the disease advances.
Bathroom Safety Tips
In the bathroom:
Install a shower chair and grab bars.
Address slippery surfaces.
Use a faucet cover in the bathtub.
Lock up potentially hazardous products or electrical appliances.
Reduce water temperature.
Remove door locks.
Kitchen Safety Tips
In the kitchen:
Prevent access to potentially dangerous appliances.
Remove artificial fruits or vegetables or food-shaped magnets.
Lock up breakable or potentially dangerous supplies.
Bedroom Safety Tips
In the bedroom:
Install a monitoring device.
Take caution when using heating devices.
Living Room Safety Tips
In the main living areas:
Mark glass doors, windows and furniture.
Take caution when using fireplaces.
Laundry Room Safety Tips
In the laundry room:
Lock up potentially hazardous products.
Prevent access to the washer and dryer.
Garage, Shed and Basement Safety Tips
In the garage, shed and basement:
Lock up potentially dangerous items.
Lock all vehicles.
Outdoor Safety Tips
To ensure safety outdoors:
Keep steps safe.
Restrict access to the pool.
Safely store fuel sources.
Other Safety Precautions
In addition, consider taking these safety precautions throughout your home:
Prepare for emergencies.
Use night lights.
Treat slippery or uneven surfaces.
Adjust the home phone and voice mail settings.
Keep stairs safe.
Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Check the locks.
Address outlets and electrical cords.
Keep computer equipment out of the way.
If you need help making changes to your home, enlist friends, a home safety professional or a community organization. Remember, paying attention to home safety can help your loved one maintain his or her independence — and ease the stress of caregiving.