Preparing the Home of a Loved One with Dementia
While caring for a parent with dementia at home, don’t ignore their environment. Adapt the home in a way that helps to compensate for changes occurring in the brain. This helps to increase safety.
Safety in the bedroom involves making the space easy to see and move around.
Add lighted pathways and non-slip flooring for middle of the night bathroom runs. A comfortable and not too high or low bed makes for easier transfers. Limit the number of items on the nightstand or dresser to avoid confusion. A brightly colored quilt visually defines the bed.
Make the space visually appealing but not one that encourages “hanging out”. Spending too much time in the bedroom can increase the risks of loneliness and isolation.
In the closet, remove all but four or five of your loved one’s favorite outfits (ask for their opinion) from the closet. Have a caregiver lay out each outfit in the order that the senior gets dressed. This makes dressing easier and helps your loved one to feel more independent.
A person with Alzheimer’s has challenges seeing the edges of surfaces in bathrooms, especially if they are all one color.
Add bright accents to help. Paint the trim of the door red or add a colored toilet seat so these elements stand out. The colored, non-skid tape makes it easier to recognize the floor of the shower and the tub’s edge. Tape is also helpful around the sink and toilet.
Mark the hot and cold faucets with bold words and bright colors to prevent scalding. Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater for safety. Add a tub seat or bench and a handheld shower spray to make bathing alone easier. Grab bars by the tub and toilet also helps prevent slips and falls.
The kitchen is filled with sharp objects, heated surfaces, and dangerous chemicals. Keep them out of sight to restrict access. Knob covers are a great stove addition to prevent burns. Add these if your aging loved one has someone in the home to help them prepare meals. Label drawers and cabinets. Use words in big block letters or even pictures to indicate what is inside of them. Have a working smoke detector with fresh batteries and a fire extinguisher easily accessible in the kitchen.
Other Living Areas
Across the home, eliminate clutter. This creates safer walking paths and it makes rooms less visually overstimulating. Consider pairing down furniture with the goal of simplifying the environment.
Shiny floors are sometimes slippery, and your loved one might perceive them as wet and difficult to walk on. It’s best to avoid them.
Secure throw rugs to the floor to avoid trips and falls. Better yet, get rid of them. Depth perception is often an issue for people with dementia. Mark stairs with colored duct tape or carpet tape to ensure they’re easier to see.
Living at home increases the risk of a person with dementia wandering, getting lost, and injuring themselves. Certain safeguards can help.
Adding motion sensors to the door provides a warning if your loved one is trying to leave. Disguising the door is another strategy to try. Paint the door the same color as the wall or hang a curtain to give the appearance of a window.
A fenced outdoor courtyard and appropriate supervision create a safe space for wandering. Regular companionship and memory-stimulating activities also reduce wandering. Consider hiring a caregiver to help with this while caring for your parent with dementia at home.
Keeping your aging loved one home requires effort, but the payoffs are substantial. To realize these benefits, it’s important to understand the disease and your options.
Love and Faith Senior Home Care is here to help you in caring for a parent with dementia at home. Our team can answer your questions and get you the information you need. Contact us anytime to schedule at (321) 379-5131 ext.1.