How To Improve Home Safety for a Loved One With Alzheimer’s
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
When someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, your first response might be despair. However, don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap, as they need your help and support to carry on in good health and security. Take a moment to clear your mind and think about their symptoms and how you can deal with them. Besides a gradual loss of memory, those who suffer from this condition also experience poor risk assessment, a decline in visuospatial awareness, and difficulty using basic tools and devices. As such, their home can quickly become a potential source of danger. Fortunately, with a little DIY know-how, you can curtail potential accidents before they occur. Here are some accessibility modifications you can make after a quick trip to the hardware store, as well as one that may require the help of a professional. Hire a Contractor If Necessary According to Senior Housing News, dead ends in hallways can frustrate Alzheimer’s patients, who like to wander freely through their homes. However, getting rid of a dead end in favor of an open design is a major renovation that should be handled by a professional. You can find one easily enough online, though be sure to check their ratings and prices carefully before scheduling a meeting to explain your plans in person. Paint Contrasting Colors Using radically different shades from room to room will go a long way in eliminating the patient’s difficulty in navigating the home, especially if they have difficulty processing visual input. It won’t ruin your overall aesthetic, but rather enhance your décor if done tastefully. Keep the Interior Well Lit Your loved one probably won’t notice those differences in color without proper lighting, which will also make the interior of the home more vibrant, warm, and spacious. This doesn’t necessarily mean switching old fixtures for new; instead, choose bulbs with higher lumens, and take advantage of rope and tape lighting to help brighten things up. Mark Steps with Bright Tape The sharp difference in height between the floor and the stairs can pose a major trip hazard unless it’s made highly visible. You’ll find tape strips that are not only bright enough in the daytime but glow in the dark as well. Use it all the way up the staircase. Install Motion Sensors Imagine what would happen if your loved one woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and couldn’t find the light switch. It could cause a panic and/or an accident, and such a scenario is totally avoidable if you connect lights to motion sensors. Furthermore, these devices improve energy efficiency, thus lowering utility bills. Eliminate Shiny Surfaces Shimmers and reflections can be highly distracting to your loved one, even impairing their mobility. Remove mirrors from the walls where they’re not absolutely necessary, then do the same with decorative metallic objects like plaques and sculptures. Don’t forget to look down, as the dazzle of polished hardwood, linoleum, or ceramic could prove disorienting. Cut Down on Slipping If you’re going to make major changes to the flooring, aim for slip-free surfaces. In fact, this advice comes highly recommended for all seniors, regardless of whether they suffer from Alzheimer’s, though this condition makes injuries due to falling much more likely. Vinyl, for example, can greatly improve safety in both the bathroom and kitchen. Cover Up Heating Systems Your loved one could grasp a radiator or heating pipe in search of stability while standing up or walking down the hallway, causing severe burns on their hands. Keep them covered to avoid this calamity. It may slow down how quickly a room warms up, but it’s a small price to pay. Update Detectors Despite all these efforts to make your interior safer for an Alzheimer’s patient, accidents are more likely to happen, including fires in the kitchen. Be ready for any problems by testing smoke alarms and updating outdated ones if necessary. For optimal protection, find models that combine photoelectric and ionization detection, says a contributor to CableOrganizer.com. The years lying ahead may not be easy, but you’ll enjoy more than enough moments of happiness, and all in safety and comfort once you make the necessary modifications to your home. By getting them done now, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.