To keep your family member who has Alzheimer’s safe, you should have a checklist. Being alert to potential hazards is important and small modifications may be necessary. It’s also helpful to walk through the home occasionally when abilities and behavior changes.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be near all the areas where people sleep as well as the kitchen. Check them often to be sure the batteries are working, and the alarms are functioning properly. Try to avoid using extension cords for lamps and appliances. If they need to be used, tack them to the baseboards in the room to prevent your loved one tripping over them and falling.
If you have a home phone in your home, use an answering machine to answer calls if you’re not there. Put it on the fewest number of rings, so it responds quickly. Keep the ringers on low, so your loved one isn’t confused or distracted by the ring. A person who has Alzheimer’s may not be able to take a message correctly, or a scam artist could exploit them.
If you have unused electrical outlets, use childproof plugs to cover them. In addition, around floor vents, heaters, radiators or other sources of heat, place red tape around them. This is to keep the person with Alzheimer’s from reaching out and touching them or standing near them when they are turned on or hot.
Be sure to have secure locks on the doors and windows, plus, install alarms on the doors and windows, so you know if they have been opened. Keep a spare key outside somewhere in case you get locked out by your family member.
Keep plastic bags safely put away and out of reach. A person with Alzheimer’s can suffocate or choke. Avoid keeping the house cluttered as clutter can create confusion in your loved one. Dispose of any magazine or newspapers which have been read, don’t let them pile up.
Medications can be an issue as well with accidental overdosing. All medication, both prescription and over the counter, should be out of reach and locked up. Every bottle of medication needs to have the person’s name on it, what the name of the drug is and strength of the drug. It also needs to have how often the drug is to be taken and when it expires. Also, child-resistant caps are useful for preventing accidental overdose.
Prevent your family member from having access to the washer and dryer by closing and latching the doors and lids. You may even want to remove the knobs and put them up if the person is messing around with the machines. If the laundry room has a door, keep it locked if possible. Lock up all the detergents, bleach and other laundry items.
If your loved one is becoming unsafe being left alone, consider contacting Elder Home Care. We have professional caregivers who are trained in the care of people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. We can keep your loved one safe while you are working or doing errands.
The Basement Shed or Garage
You will need to lock all basement, shed or garage doors. Locking up tools, machines, toxic materials like paint, gasoline or fertilizer will keep everyone safer. This is because there are potentially dangerous items in these areas. Lock up bicycles and cars, so your loved one doesn’t get an idea to leave.
Install childproof locks on cabinets and cupboards in the basement, shed or garage. This is so if your loved one does enter these areas; they can’t get into where the items are located.