Submitted by Paige Fairbanks-Gunn, Koelsch Senior Community Properties
Over time, people with Alzheimer’s disease become less able to manage around the house. For example, they may forget to turn off the stove or the water, how to use the phone during an emergency, which things around the house are dangerous, and where things are in their own home.
As a caregiver, you can do many things to make the person’s home a safer place. Think prevention—help avoid accidents by controlling possible problems.
While some Alzheimer’s behaviors can be managed medically, many, such as wandering and agitation, cannot. It is more effective to change the person’s surroundings—for example, to remove dangerous items, rather than to try to change or control behaviors. Changing the home environment can give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely.
Create an Alzheimer’s-safe home
Add the following items to the person’s home if they are not already in place:
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the kitchen and all bedrooms
Emergency phone numbers, poison control, doctors, hospital, etc., and the person’s address near all phones
Safety knobs and an automatic shut-off switch on the stove
Childproof plugs for unused electrical outlets and childproof latches on cabinet doors
Lock up or remove these potentially dangerous items from the home:
Prescription and over-the-counter medicines
Cleaning and household products, such as paint thinner and matches
Poisonous plants—contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or www.poison.org to find out which houseplants are poisonous
Guns and other weapons, scissors, knives, power tools, and machinery
Gasoline cans and other dangerous items in the garage
Around the house
Try these tips to prevent falls and injuries:
Simplify the home by minimizing furniture and clutter
Have a sturdy handrail on stairways and mark the edges of steps with brightly colored tape
Put a gate across the stairs if the person has balance problems
Remove small throw rugs
Make sure cords to electrical outlets are out of the way or tacked to baseboards
Make sure the person with Alzheimer’s has good floor traction for walking. To make floors less slippery, leave floors unpolished or install nonskid strips. Shoes and slippers with good traction also help the person move around safely.
Visit www.KoelschSeniorCommunities.com or tour any of the valley Koelsch Senior Communities, Scottsdale Amber Creek Inn, 480-471-8265; Chandler Copper Creek Inn, 480-634-4191; Mesa Silver Creek Inn, 480-636-1222; and Rock Creek in Surprise 623-214-0100. Koelsch has led the memory care industry for 60 years, delivering world-class service, robust home craftsmanship, and unprecedented care with nurses on-site 24 hours a day. After all, the common purpose at Koelsch Communities is: To create happiness by providing the finest living experiences anywhere.
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