It’s scary for your elderly family member to suddenly be diagnosed with dementia. There are likely to be big changes coming for her sooner than either of you expect and it’s likely that she’s already experienced some of those changes. Learning how to keep your senior safe in her home is absolutely imperative, because she needs to be and feel secure in her own home. Here are 6 tips for keeping your senior safe at home and how elder care can play a role in increasing safety.
Pay Close Attention to Overall Home Safety
Home safety is crucial for every senior, but it’s even more vital for aging adults with dementia. As the disease progresses, your elderly family member isn’t always able to see what is dangerous about a particular situation. It’s incumbent on you as her family caregiver to plan ahead for as much as you possibly can.
Lock up Chemicals
People with dementia can slowly start to forget what dangerous household chemicals can do. Seemingly innocuous substances like laundry detergent can be something that your senior tries to drink. That’s terrifying, and in order to keep her as safe as possible you might want to consider how to secure those household chemicals now. Waiting can leave all sorts of situations open for her, and that’s dangerous.
Remove Tripping Hazards of All Kinds
Tripping hazards are another issue, even if your aging family member has always been surefooted in the past. That’s because as her brain changes, how her brain communicates with her body also changes. Reducing tripping hazards as much as possible helps to keep her safer for longer. Adding handrails wherever you can is also a good idea.
Add Labels Now throughout the House
It might sound odd, but labels are really helpful for people with dementia. Your elderly family member may have kept the drinking glasses in one cabinet for her entire life, but when dementia progresses, she can forget where they are. Adding labels now to drawers, cabinets, and even rooms gives her a sense of security and can help immeasurably later.
Consider Moving Exterior Door Locks
A big problem for aging adults with dementia eventually is that they’re prone to wandering away. One way that you can help to prevent that now is to change where the door locks are on exterior doors. Moving them to a point higher on the door ensures that they still function but keeps them away from your senior’s field of vision.
Bring in Elder Care Providers Early
You really can’t bring in elder care providers too early for someone who has dementia. When you hire elder care providers shortly after your elderly family member is diagnosed, that allows her to get used to having assistance now, when she’s still able to understand what is happening. As your senior needs more help, caregivers are there and ready to offer her that help.
Caring for someone who has dementia can be frustrating for you and for her, especially when your elderly family member’s brain doesn’t work how she expects it to work. Getting through the experience with love and compassion is the way to proceed.