Keeping an aging loved one who has dementia safe while living in your home can be challenging. Dementia oftentimes distorts a senior’s perception of the world around them. As a result your home’s contours can become an alien and frightening place when viewed through their eyes. A dark throw rug becomes a gaping hole they can fall into. Their own reflection in a wall mirror is perceived as a stranger. In addition to memory loss, dementia can also diminish a senior’s depth perception, coordination, balance, and strength. To ensure their safety, you’ll need to modify your home’s environment to facilitate your loved one staying there for as long as possible. To assist your efforts, here are several dementia safety tips that you can use.

Create a Safer Home Environment

Conduct a walk-through inside your home. Busy wallpaper, paint colors and large wall mirrors can confuse and even frighten a person with dementia. Ceilings and walls should be painted in pale colors that reflect light and contrast with floor coverings. Remove large mirrors that could startle them. Also look for slippery throw rugs, uneven surfaces and other obstacles at floor level that are falling hazards. Outfit each room with strong yet low-glare lighting and motion-sensing night lights, while minimizing shadows as much as possible. Moving room-to-room throughout your home, implement these additional changes:

Bathrooms

Remove door locks to prevent them from getting locked in. Replace sharp objects like razor blades with less-dangerous ones like a cordless electric shaver. Scan for slip hazards on the bathroom floor including throw rugs and substitute large non-skid bath mats. Lock up any cleaning supplies and medications that are accessible. Install grab bars in the tub and next to the toilet. Also put in temperature-controlled water faucets to prevent scalding.

Bedrooms

Take the lock off their bedroom door and place an audio monitor inside the room so that you can hear when they are out of bed or calling for help. Install a lock on your bedroom to block access to valuables or potentially-harmful items.

Kitchen

Place food within easy reach so they don’t have to climb on something to access it. Stow away knives and smaller electric appliances (toaster, blender, etc.) in a locked cabinet. Convert the faucets to temperature-controlled ones, and consider installing a motion-sensing automatic shut-off device on the stove that’ll turn it off when movement hasn’t been detected for a set period of time. Remove any slippery throw rugs from the kitchen, along with other tripping hazards.

Other Interior Areas

Inspect your living room, dining room and den for trip hazards. Rolling chairs on castors can cause problems for those with dementia, along with bookshelves or other furnishings that are not anchored. Make sure each room has ample lighting, especially for nighttime. Secure areas with child-safety locks that you don’t want them to access when you’re not around, like a spare room or closet. Use those places to store potentially-dangerous chemicals, tools, flammable liquids, cleaning supplies and sharp objects away from your loved one.

Outside the Home

Make sure the backyard is fenced and the gate(s) locked if they will be going outside. Clear the walkways and steps around your house of debris and toys. Keep your grill covered and locked up when not in use. Install handrails along the steps to help avoid falls, and ensure that your walkways, patio and steps are well-lit. If you have a swimming pool, fence it off separately and keep the gate locked when not in use. Also keep your garage secured so that your loved one can’t access its contents, and keep your car keys in an inaccessible location. At night, lock your home’s windows and doors, and consider a front door alarm system with a monitor near your bed to prevent them from wandering off in the middle of the night.

Our Caregivers Value Dementia Safety

Taking care of an aging loved one with dementia can be challenging. When you need a break, a reliable caregiver from Seniors Prefer Homecare can step in and deliver the care your at-home senior needs. All our home care aids are well-trained, highly-qualified and carefully- screened in advan