Safety is a serious priority for caregivers taking care of seniors in assisted-living, nursing homes, or at home. But did you know that seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia related disorders can turn everyday household items into safety hazards? Take the case of a caregiver who caught her husband with Alzheimer’s pulling a straight razor from the bathroom drawer instead of his toothbrush. She prevented the accident, but it was scary none the less. As a senior caregiver you can’t be there every minute of the day, and accidents happen. Alzheimer’s clouds a senior’s judgement, and everyday objects can become confusing, even hazardous.
Prevention is the key to a safe home environment, but starting all at once can be overwhelming. Start with priority rooms like the kitchen and bedroom and then take it one room at a time. Look at the senior’s behavior to assess other priorities such as door locks and gates. Here are some tips to keep you a step ahead.
- Declutter- It is important to clear paths to ensure the senior can move from room to room without tripping. Arrange furniture to create open pathways increased mobility.
- Nightlights- Automatic nightlights are essential near bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms.
- Lock away hazardous items- Cleaning supplies, sharp objects, lawn equipment, grills, alcohol, electronics, medicine, and chemicals.
- Turn down temperature on the water heater- Seniors may not have the reaction time to remove themselves from scalding water.
- Remove items that resemble food- vitamins, decorative items like wax fruit, and poisonous plants are easy for seniors to mistake for real food.
- Install grab bars- Grab bars in bathrooms aid in independence near the toilet and shower.
- Remove tripping hazards- Rugs and loose cords are especially dangerous for seniors.
- Cover electrical outlets
- Mark large windows or sliding doors- Use window clings or stickers at eye level to ensure glass door and windows are visible when closed.
- Safety proof kitchen appliances- The garbage disposal and stove are common kitchen dangers.
- Restrict assess- Install locks or gates to keep seniors from entering possibly dangerous areas such as outside, stairwells, and garage.
Caregivers- For more ways to dementia proof your home, Nurse’s Unlimited has an extensive, room by room safety checklist and other helpful tips to keep your loved one safe. http://www.nursesunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Alzheimers-Safety-Checklist.pdf
Stayed tuned to the County Health Care Guide Blog to learn more about assisted-living, senior care, senior placement, and important senior news in Volusia County. From Daytona to Port Orange to New Smyrna, the County Health Care Guide is the only resource you need.