5 Safety Risks for Alzheimer’s at Home
A loved one’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis is difficult for the patient and family caregivers. Family members might wonder how long their loved one with Alzheimer’s can remain at home. We understand how important it is for Alzheimer’s patients and their families for them to live at home for as long as possible. However, with the right care and safety precautions, your senior loved one can stay in their home longer. Keep these home safety risks for Alzheimer’s patients in mind as you prepare the home.
All seniors have the risk of falls as they age, but Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have a greater risk for falls and balance issues. Alzheimer’s disease affects a patient’s physical ability as the disease progresses, leading to balance and coordination problems. Survey your senior loved one’s home for any tripping hazards, excessive clutter, and dimly lit areas. You may need to install extra railing, non-slip mats, or rearrange furniture to prevent potential falls. Making your senior loved one’s home more accessible and safe may help them stay in their home longer.
2. Driving risks
A common question with Alzheimer’s patients is how long they can drive. Once the disease reaches the middle to late stages, it’s no longer safe for your family member to drive a car. In the early stages, though, it might be safe for them to go short and familiar distances. It’s crucial to observe your senior’s driving habits, pay attention to their traffic tickets or crash history, and doctor recommendations when deciding on driving. If your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s is able to drive, keep the trips short and during the daytime.
3. Kitchen safety hazards
The kitchen has some of the most significant safety hazards in a home, regardless of the homeowner’s age. However, for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, there should be extra safety precautions in place in the kitchen. As the disease progresses, patients may forget how to use certain kitchen appliances, which can increase the risk of fires or burns.
To prevent these safety hazards, consider using appliances with an auto shut-off feature, attaching knob covers for the stove, and disconnecting the garbage disposal. In addition, keep the countertops clutter-free, and consider using pots and pans that aren’t too heavy and have two handles.
4. Forgetting medication
As memory fades with Alzheimer’s, your senior loved one may forget to take their medication. This obviously poses a significant safety risk because their medication is necessary for their well-being. If your senior family member forgets their medication, they may go too long without it or forget they took it and take more than they need. However, you can do a couple of things to keep medication safe and help your loved one take it on schedule.
Keep medication locked away when not in use. Use a phone alarm to help your senior loved one take their medication at the right time each day. Finally, use a pill box organizer to keep pills organized and to help everyone remember what was taken.
5. Wandering and getting lost
An unfortunate and dangerous side effect of the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s is wandering off and getting lost. It’s not uncommon in any stage of Alzheimer’s for patients to walk or drive somewhere and then forget where they are. If your senior loved one is living at home, wandering is a safety concern to keep in mind.
Some things you can do to help prevent your senior family member with Alzheimer’s from wandering off are to install a home alarm system, keep exterior doors locked when not in use, and have your senior wear a tracking bracelet. But, ultimately, if wandering and getting lost becomes a habitual experience, it’s time to consider extra care for your senior family member.
Keep your senior loved one at home with in-home caregivers
Your senior family member with Alzheimer’s feels most comfortable in their own home, but there comes a time when it’s no longer safe for them to be home without 24/7 care. In-home caregivers provide expert care for your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s anytime you need it. Additionally, they are trained on all the safety precautions required for seniors to stay safe and comfortable at home for as long as possible. As a result, family caregivers get a much-needed break, and you can rest assured your senior family member is well cared for by a team of caregivers trained and certified.
Caregivers United is the premier concierge in-home caregiving service in Sarasota. We serve Sarasota and surrounding areas to provide the highest level of care. Caregivers United specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s home care, and we provide personalized care for your senior loved one’s unique needs. Contact Caregivers United today for a courtesy visit and to learn more about our caregiving services.