Home Safety and security are always a top priority; that priority gets much more critical when it comes to caring for your loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s. A tiny mistake or act of negligence can result in devastating consequences. So, what can we do to protect our loved ones from harm?
Consulting with those with experience as well as professional caregivers, we have put together a comprehensive list of all you need to know to provide your loved ones a safe environment.
- Position Tracking
“To keep a watchful eye on your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, you may want to consider investing in some sort of position tracking software. Whether it links to their smartphone or a wearable device, that application will help you keep tabs on the physical location of your loved one at all times. This way, you can always tell whether your loved one is safe and secure when you’re at the office, at the grocery store, or just in the other room.” (Teresa Crawford)
- Install Handicap-Accessible Features in Your Bathrooms
“It would also be a wise idea to install handicap-accessible features in your loved one’s bathroom, and maybe even all the restrooms of your home. These features may include things like grab bars, shower seats, hands-free faucets, and other accommodations. Those features will help minimize the risk of injury in the bathroom, which will greatly benefit your loved one’s health.” (Teresa Crawford)
- Fence In Your Yards
“To further reduce wandering behaviors, it’s not a bad idea to ensure your backyard is secure. Without a fence or some kind of separating line surrounding your property, your loved one may wander off and get lost on their own. When your backyard is secure, you’ll have absolute peace of mind knowing that your loved one is safe at your residence.”
Teresa Crawford, founder and owner of The Creeks
- Install Monitoring Devices In Each Room Of The House
“This did not only allow me to monitor my grandmother’s movements but also ensured the safety of our home. Though we had a helper to take care of her, she sometimes had to leave her side in order to get necessities like water and food. During these times, it is very important that my grandma’s actions are monitored so as not to hurt herself or other people.
“All electrical outlets are covered and sharp objects are far from her reach. She also has a tracking device installed on her watch so in case she suddenly gets out, it is easy to track her.”
Tony Grenier, CEO Instrumental Global
- Install Digital Locks
“We had to install digital locks on our doors. My grandfather used to love traveling and walking around the village. That is why when he suffered from Alzheimer’s, his body still wanted to walk around everywhere. This became a problem because there were instances that he didn’t know how to get back home. Luckily, he didn’t stray away from the subdivision, so we were still able to find him.
“With that said, we had to install digital locks so it would be harder for him to go out. I think it worked as he was not able to get out of the house alone anymore. We still go on walks with him, it’s just that he cannot do it alone anymore.”
Willie Greer, Founder of The Product Analyst
- Evaluate Home safety
- First of all, you need to think from the perspective of the patient themselves. For example:
- Can this person have difficulty using the stairs or making their way around the house?
- Do they often wake up at night?
- Have they ever gotten into any accidents around the house?
- Evaluation of your own living space is necessary so you can understand the precautions that need to be taken. Remember that it is more effective to change the environment rather than trying to change the person with Alzheimer’s disease.” (Pareen Sehat)
- Lock Up Any Dangerous Items
“This can be applied to your garage, basement or even the kitchen. Scout for tools that can be harmful in the wrong hands. Now, install child-proof locks on cabinets and drawers alike. These include tools like machinery, paint, kitchen cutlery, sports equipment, cleaning supplies and any weapons. Keep these locked up and monitor their use regularly.”
Pareen Sehat, a registered clinical counselor & certified mental health professional; ‘Well Beings Counselling’
- Dark Rug By the Front Door
“Placing a dark rug beside the front door can be an easy and effective means of keeping seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease safe. For those with dementia, the dark-colored rug will resemble a hole and will deter them from wandering outside.” (Rick Lauber)
- Safety Gates
“Child safety gates can also help. These can be set up at the base or top of stairs. When closed, these will prevent a senior from falling while trying to descend down or climb up the stairs. Safety gates can also be placed in the doorways of rooms that may be risky to a senior with Alzheimer’s disease.” (Rick Lauber)
- Remove The Bathroom Mirror
“Family caregivers can also remove the bathroom mirror. An elderly and confused senior suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may not recognize his/her own reflection and be startled, alarmed, or frightened when seeing a ‘stranger’. (Rick Lauber)
- Maintain Proper Lighting
“Replacing burnt-light bulbs or installing new and brighter light fixtures can also help. A senior with Alzheimer’s may have more limited eyesight and negotiating darker areas in a home (e.g. hallways) may become challenging. “
Rick Lauber, the published author of two caregiving guidebooks; The Successful Caregiver’s Guide and Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians
“Just as there are assistive devices to help seniors have a better quality of life, there is also technology that may be quite beneficial. It’s known as assistive technology. When you live with someone who has Alzheimer’s, your top responsibility is their safety.” says Piyushi Dhir, “There are two safety features that can help caretakers with those who often wander;
- GPS Smart Sole
“The GPS Smart Sole fits into most shoes and allows caretakers to follow the whereabouts and movements of their family members from any smartphone, tablet, or an online browser. The shoe insert is GPS-enabled, allowing for real-time synchronization, a full report of location history, and the ability to set up a safe radius for a loved one.” (Piyushi Dhir)
- Install Remote Alarms
“Installing remote-sounding alarms is a safety measure that will keep Alzheimer’s patients from wandering. These alarm systems are intended to sound when someone opens the door from a distance. The sounding device will notify you without frightening your Alzheimer’s-affected loved one.”
Piyushi Dhir, businesswoman by profession, and writer by passion; The owner of ‘At Help and Wellness’
- Beef Up Safety Measures In The Bathroom
“The bathroom is the ultimate accident-prone area for someone with Alzheimer’s. Non-slip mats and grab bars are welcome additions, as well as a faucet cover and a shower bench.” (Jack Miller)
- Secure The Kitchen, As Well
“It helps to install safety knobs on the stove and unplugging the garbage disposal if you’re not using it.. Keep sharp objects and toxic chemicals out of sight and if necessary, install childproof latches on the cabinet handles where they are stored.” (Jack Miller)
- Install Motion-sensor Lights
“This is a given for the outside lights, but do the same for hallways.” (Jack Miller)
“If there are kids at home, stow away their toys to avoid possible slips or injuries when they’re stepped on. Similarly, keep any clutter away from doorways.” (Jack Miller)
- Add Markings To Steps And Staircases
“Use bright tape that can be easily seen from afar. It also helps to keep these surfaces free from any liquid that may cause slippages.”
Jack Miller, the Founder of How I Get Rid Of