Use this safety checklist for living at home with dementia. It can alert you to potential hazards.
Your home is a personal and precious environment. As you go through this checklist, make adaptations that modify and simplify without severely disrupting the home. You may want to consider setting aside a special area for yourself, a space off-limits to anyone else and arranged exactly as you like. Everyone needs private, quiet time.
A safe home can be a less stressful home for a person with a dementia such as Alzheimer's, the caregiver, and family members. You don't have to make these changes alone. You may want to enlist the help of a friend, professional, or community service such as the Alzheimer's Association.
- Anticipate the reasons a person with Alzheimer's disease might get out of bed, such as hunger, thirst, going to the bathroom, restlessness, and pain. Try to meet these needs by offering food and fluids and scheduling ample toileting.
- Use a night-light.
- Use a monitoring device to alert you to any sounds indicating a fall or other need for help. (Also effective for bathrooms.)
- Remove scatter rugs and throw rugs.
- Remove portable space heaters.
- If you use portable fans, be sure objects cannot be placed in the blades.
- Be cautious when using electric mattress pads, electric blankets, electric sheets, and heating pads, all of which can cause burns and fires. Keep controls out of reach.
- If the person with Alzheimer's disease is at risk of falling out of bed, place fall mats next to the bed, as long as they do not create a greater risk of accident.
- Use transfer or mobility aids.
- A soothing-vapor waterless vaporizer can reduce agitation and create a sense of calm.
- Consider adding an adjustable bed-rail or a mini-bed-rail. If you are considering using a hospital-type bed with rails and wheels, read the Food and Drug Administration's up-to-date safety information online.