Create A Safe Home for Your Loved One With Dementia
Make a safe home for a family member suffering from dementia by implementing these suggestions.
Safe Home: Review your current set up
Abilities vary greatly among people with dementia and can disappear suddenly. Regularly reevaluate balance, coordination, strength and the ability to sit, stand and walk with or without assistance. Add more safety features as needed. Writing your observations in a notebook or on your phone will help you keep track. Report changes to the doctor.
Safe Home: Designate an off-limits area
People with dementia forget the purpose of things and how to use them. They may think wiper fluid is juice or be unaware that the grill is hot. To make the home safer, turn the garage, workroom, closet, outdoor shed, recycled TV armoire or a large cabinet into a storage place for:
- cleaning products
- paint, turpentine, stain
- sharp knives, scissors, box cutters, blades
- tobacco products, including chewing tobacco
- hand and power tools
Safe Home: Use childproof locks on drawers and cabinets
- electric appliances — including food processors, blenders, plug-in frying pans and kitchen grills, coffee makers, toasters, space heaters, hair dryers, iron, vaporizers, curling irons
- kitchen knives
- laundry pods
- daily cleaning supplies
- medicine, including vitamins
Safe Home: Prevent falls
Make your furniture safe. Include the following:
- a recliner that lifts to assist getting up and standing
- bed rails or a hospital bed
Safe Home: Check your fridge and pantry continuously
- Make regular pantry and refrigerator inspections. People with dementia may eat spoiled, expired, raw and moldy food.
- Put certain foods out of sight. When judgment becomes impaired, a jar of maraschino cherries or instant coffee crystals may seem like a good meal.
- Limit your pet’s mealtimes, and remove the bowl so your loved one doesn’t snack on kibble.
- Keep a close eye on permanent fixtures that can become hazards — including garbage disposals, ovens, stovetops and gas fireplaces.
- Car keys should be inaccessible.
- Firearms should be kept in a gun safe or off the property.