When a loved one begins to develop signs of Alzheimer’s disease, steps need to be taken to be sure that where the person is living is safe. This is because Alzheimer’s care is different than taking care of a loved one with, for example, a heart attack problem. Also, a person who has Alzheimer’s can become lost within a home that’s been lived in for years so precautions need to be taken. So below are some tips on how to design a home for the person with Alzheimer’s how to make it safe:
The most important thing to do first is to reduce clutter throughout the home. So the paths from one room to another should be made as straight and clear as possible. Any throw rugs should either be removed or tacked down so the person doesn’t trip. When there are clear open spaces, it makes it easier for the person to walk to places like the bathroom for example. It decreases the chances of overstimulation additionally which is bad for Alzheimer’s sufferers who have problems with processing information. Also, lighting needs to be enhanced so shadows aren’t mistaken for people or cause confusion for the loved one.
Next there needs to be off-limits or Danger Zones designated. This is where any objects which are breakable; chemicals, medications, tools or anything that you think would be a potential danger are. This could also be the basement, or even a garage or a hobby room. So the doors to these rooms needs to be locked and even alarmed. If these areas can’t be locked, then the dangerous objects need to be removed from the area.
For the caregiver, there should be a Respite zone. Giving Alzheimer’s care can be a 24 hour, 7 day a week job if help isn’t available. So, the caregiver needs to have a place to get away from everything and have alone time to help reduce both stress and burnout.
A Safe Zone for the loved one should be created. The rooms should be safety proofed and as many rooms in the house as possible need to be made available. Since a person with Alzheimer’s may wander, rummage through stuff and hide things, all common traits with this disease, this zone also needs to be free from anything which is stressful or agitating which would trigger these behaviors
Preparing a home to keep a loved one with Alzheimer’s safe is a difficult job. Sometimes even with all the precautions, it’s more than a caregiver can handle. Alzheimer’s patients can become physically violent and dangerous too. If this happens, there may be no other choice but to move the loved one to an Alzheimer’s assisted living for both your safety and your senior’s.