Caring For A Loved One With Alzheimer’s: How To Make Your Home Safe and Accessible
Caring for a loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s disease can be a full-time job for many people, and it can be a difficult one for many reasons. Taking on the role of caregiver often means making sacrifices, rarely having a “day off,” and having to make tough decisions. It can also take a toll on you physically if your loved one has limited mobility.
One of the easiest ways to make things go more smoothly for everyone involved is to ensure that your home is safe and accessible, with precautions to prevent injury and accidents. For many seniors, this means looking at flooring, stairs, and walkways to make sure they don’t include trip or slip hazards. Falls are one of the biggest dangers seniors face, so it’s important to do everything you can to prevent them. It’s also imperative to take your loved one’s specific needs into consideration.
Many individuals who are living with Alzheimer’s, for instance, tend to wander and can find themselves in dangerous situations. In this case, installing security cameras and/or motion sensor alarms at every exit might be a good idea.
Keep reading for a few more tips on how to make your home safe and accessible for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Update the bathroom
The bathroom is often a spot for injury where seniors are concerned, so making some small changes could be in your best interest. Installing a shower seat, grab bar and/or rubber mat in the bathtub could help not only your loved one, but also your own well-being if you’re responsible for bathing them. It might also help to lay thin, slip-proof rubber mats on the bathroom floor to prevent slips and falls. For more great tips on how to update your bathroom for your loved one, click here.
Smooth out the entrance
Even if your loved one has good mobility, it’s always a good idea to think toward the future. What will the next five years bring? Making things as accessible as possible now will give you peace of mind and will keep your loved one safe for years to come, so it’s a good idea to think about the entrance to your home; are there stairs? Is it well-lit? Consider installing a ramp for your loved one’s comfort and place solar lights around pathways to keep them bright.
Make it easy to find
Think about your loved one’s needs; are there vision issues that make it more difficult to find things around the house? Consider putting labels on the most-used items and on light switches; paint a contrasting color behind the toilet or sink to make it stand out from a sea of white. Think of your loved one’s strengths and play them up.
A cluttered home can be detrimental to your mental health, so for both your sake and your loved one’s, make each room as tidy and clean as possible. This will not only make things easier to find, it will help prevent injury and confusion. If necessary, install bookshelves to help make things neat and get everything up off the floor. Just make sure you have the right tools for the job; go here for some ideas.
Check the alarms
Check the alarms around your home to make sure they are in good working order. Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and motion sensors should all have fresh batteries and be tested bi-weekly, especially if you have gas appliances or if your loved one wanders as a result of their condition.
Caring for someone who is living with Alzheimer’s is a big job, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right tools and a good plan for prevention, you can help your loved one stay safe and comfortable in your home for years to come.