Even with a condition like Alzheimer’s disease, it’s often possible for seniors to continue living at home. At the same time, it’s important to take appropriate precautions to create a safe home environment. If your older loved one is at the point where he or she tends to become agitated if changes are made in the home, you may want to be discreet about implementing some of the suggestions mentioned on the checklist below.
Make an Emergency Phone Number List
It’s not realistically possible to watch your loved one or be with him or her every minute of the day. However, what you can do is provide some peace of mind by putting a list of emergency phone numbers in a visible place, such as on the fridge. Include numbers for:
• Yourself and other family members who provide care
• Local police and fire departments
• Your loved one’s doctor and the local hospital
• Emergency medical services in the area
If your loved one is still able to use a cell phone, all these numbers can be programmed into his or her phone so they’re accessible with a single touch.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide in-home care. El Dorado County families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
Secure Exterior Doors
If your loved one is prone to wandering, consider placing higher deadbolts on exterior doors to prevent him or her from going outside, especially if the home is near the street. Another option is to install a security system that will alert you when an exterior door is opened.
Install Grip/Grab Bars
Older adults with Alzheimer’s sometimes lose their balance or need some help orienting themselves when getting up from the toilet or using the shower or tub. An easy solution for this problem is to use grip or grab bars that can be attached to walls.
Lock Up Hazardous Substances
Seniors with memory impairment tend to be less cautious about hazardous substances normally found in a home, such as cleaning products and pesticides. If you have this concern, lock up any substances that can be considered hazardous.
Control Access to Medication
If you also have concerns about medication, consider a locked medication dispenser, which is a device that’s preset to only dispense specific dosages each day. You can also use a pill box or an automated system that will alert you if pills are missing.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional senior home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Create a Safe Garage Area
If your loved one’s home has an attached garage, don’t forget to make it a safe place as well. Do this by:
• Safely securing lawn equipment
• Locking up power tools
• Putting hand tools and smaller objects such as screws and nails on higher shelves
• Locking away gasoline and other liquids that are flammable or dangerous if ingested
Check for Trip/Fall Hazards
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease has the potential to affect coordination and mobility, which means your loved one could be at risk of falling, slipping, or tripping while at home. Minimize this risk by removing loose rugs and checking for fall hazards, such as oddly placed furniture.
Explore Appliance Safety Options
As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one may be more likely to turn on the stove and forget to turn it off. If you’re concerned this could happen when nobody’s around to supervise, consider installing a hidden circuit breaker or shutoff valve or investing in newer appliances with automatic shutoff features.
If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s and needs help managing daily tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. El Dorado County Home Care Assistance provides reliable caregivers around the clock to help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably while living with Alzheimer’s disease. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (916) 358-3801 to schedule a free in-home consultation.