What can I do to make my house safe for an Alzheimer’s patient?
A person with Alzheimer’s is likely to walk, pace or wander. As a caregiver, you must allow this type of behavior. But you have to create a safe environment for it. People with Alzheimer’s have perception problems. Carpeting or other flooring with black patches can give the appearance of black holes that have to be stepped over. Shiny floors might appear to be wet, also causing altered behavior or motions. Good lighting that reduces glare will ease anxiety. Get the clutter out of the house! It is very important that things such as plants on the floor, footstools, baskets, and any papers or magazines not be left lying around. Remove these and any other things that could be construed as obstacles. There are many vendors that have products that can increase home security appropriately. In fact, there are so many products, a prudent review of their capabilities, costs and pros/cons is in order. Some have bells or alarms, while others can quietly page or notify someone off-site. There are special locks and door aides that also can help keep individuals with dementia safe. Monitoring equipment is plentiful. A common baby monitor works especially well for monitoring at night. If your loved one is prone to falling out of bed, lower the bed (even putting the mattress on the floor) and/or put an extra mattress(es) next to the bed to cushion any tumble. There are also monitors available that can tell you whenever your loved one gets out of bed, or rises from a chair. A good place to find out more about home safety devices is http://www.alzstore.com. Places that sell baby-safety equipment are also good, as are outlets such as Radio Shack. There are plenty of manufacturers and sponsors out there — be sure to compare prices and quality whenever possible. For further information, please access our FREE “Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit” by clicking here.