Tips to keep a loved one safe
Dementia is a brain disorder that causes changes in mental cognition and behavior for those living with the disease. Those living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, tend to lose the ability to remember names, arrange thoughts coherently, and recognize their current surroundings. As the disease progresses, communication becomes more difficult for the sufferer and agitation can occur.
Creating a home that is safe and comfortable for both the caregiver and the individual is very important. The following 15 simple tips can help caregivers keep those affected by the disease safer in their home or living space:
- Keep the home quiet and background noise to a minimum.
- Install child proof locks and latches high on doors to help deter wandering into unsafe areas.
- Keep keys out of sight.
- Post identifying signs on doors like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
- Place a stop sign on the door to the exterior or unsafe areas (basement stairs).
- Place familiar items where they can be seen. This helps the individual feel safer, and can reduce agitation.
- Organize and declutter surroundings. This reduces anxiety, one of the potential causes for wandering.
- Nighttime and sun downing (when the person becomes increasingly agitated as evening advances) can be challenging for both the caregiver and the person with dementia. Modifying sleeping arrangements can help reduce the agitation. The bedroom should be cool as this is conducive to sleep and comfort.
- Keep bedding and pajamas comfortable so they don’t restrict movement.
- Fill the sleeping area with familiar objects. Examples include a favorite soft blanket or pillow, or favorite pictures of family members.
- Include a nightlight. (It shouldn’t be too bright as this could interrupt sleep.)
- Ensure that there is sufficient night-time lighting so that if wandering does occur, it will not be hazardous.
- Remove or secure all cords so they don’t become a tripping hazard.
- Make it easy for the wanderer to easily find the bathroom – and their way back to their room.
- Ensure the person receives sunlight during the day. This helps restore the body’s natural time clock, and may help reduce issues with sleeping.
There are other considerations when caring for someone suffering from dementia. With some safety precautions and comfort guidelines, those caring for suffers may reduce some of the common problems that happen in the course of the disease. Download our free Home Safety Checklist for more ideas on how to keep your home a safe place to be.
About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.
Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.