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Home Safety Tips for People with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

An important aspect of preserving the well-being of someone experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is to make their home as safe as possible not only from physical injury, but also to minimize confusion and fear.

We’ve compiled these home safety tips to help prepare the patient’s home for this next journey. Most of the items we suggest to enhance home safety can be found in your local department store, hardware store, or online.

Whole home safety tips for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

  • Make sure that emergency numbers and your home address is prominently displayed beside all telephones
  • Set your telephone ringer at a low volume to prevent startling
  • Program telephone answering machines to turn on after the fewest rings possible in case the person is unable to take a message, or to protect them from possible telephone fraud
  • Secure cell phones when they’re not in use
  • Install secure locks and alarms on all outside windows and doors
  • Secure a spare house key outside the home in case you’re locked out with the person still inside
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in or near the kitchen, as well as near all sleeping areas, and test them frequently  
  • Ensure that computers are password protected and frequently back up all of your data
  • Keep alcohol out of reach of the person as drinking alcohol can increase confusion
  • Clearly mark all floor vents, radiators, and other heating devices with red tape to help prevent the person from coming into contact with them
  • Avoid using extension cords in traffic areas, and tape down electrical cords that might be a tripping hazard
  • Avoid storing plastic bags where the person can find them to reduce choking risk
  • Keep walking areas free from tripping hazards, including throw rugs 
  • Ensure that all rooms have adequate lighting, as well as nightlights
  • Store power tools and any guns or other weapons securely and out of sight of the person
  • Use child-proof covers on unused electrical outlets
  • Install light switches at the top and bottom of all stairs
  • Put carpeting down on staircases, or place safety grip strips
  • If the person has problems with balance, place a gate across the top of stairways
  • Keep the home free from clutter, which could cause upset or confusion in the person

Kitchen safety for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients

  • Remove and/or lock away prescription/non-prescription medication, cleaning products, knives, scissors, blades, small appliances, matches, flammable liquids, and any items of value
  • Install childproof latches on all cupboards where you store breakable items, or items that could cause injury
  • If there is a family “junk drawer” in the kitchen, remove any small items that can possibly be eaten
  • Install a drain trap in the kitchen sink(s) to stop small items from going down the drain
  • Remove any small or food-shaped kitchen magnets from the fridge 
  • Install safety knobs and an automatic shut-off switch on the stove
  • If you have a garbage disposal, considering disconnecting to prevent someone with Alzheimer’s from putting objects or their own hands in it

Bathroom safety for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

  • Disable the bathroom lock to prevent the person from becoming locked inside
  • Install grab bars beside the toilet and bathtub/shower that are a different colour than the wall so they’re easy to see
  • Replace bath mats that can be tripped over with non-stick adhesive strips
  • Stick non-skid adhesive strips, mats, or decals in the bathtub/shower to help prevent falls
  • Avoid burns from scalding water by using a single faucet that mixes hot and cold water
  • Use a plastic shower stool and handheld shower head for easier bathing
  • Install wall-to-wall carpeting in the bathroom so the person won’t slip on a wet tiled surface
  • Use a raised toilet seat for easier sitting and standing up
  • Install a night light in the bathroom
  • Remove cleaning products and prescription/non-prescription medications and keep them in a locked cabinet 
  • Take out all small electrical appliances such as electric razors and hair dryers from the bathroom to prevent contact with water
  • Install drain traps in the sink and bathtub/shower to stop small items from going down the drain

Create a safer bedroom for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

  • Use a night light to prevent confusion should the person with dementia awaken in the night
  • Remove throw rugs to help prevent trips and falls
  • Take any portable space heaters out of the room
  • Only use portable fans that don’t allow objects to be placed in the blades 
  • Place a monitoring device beside the bed so that you and/or other caregivers can hear if the person becomes restless or in need of assistance
  • If they use an electric blanket or similar heating appliance in bed, keep the controls out of their reach 

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia safety tips for the living room 

  • Place decals at eye-level on all sliding glass doors, bay windows, large fish tanks, and furniture with large glass panels so the person can identify glass panes 
  • Remove electrical cords in traffic areas to prevent accidental tripping
  • Consider installing wall-to-wall carpet and remove throw rugs that can cause a fall
  • Do not leave someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia alone with an open fire in the fireplace, and ensure that anything that can be used to start a fire is removed and secured

Laundry room safety for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

  • If possible, keep the door to the laundry room/area locked
  • Keep all laundry detergents and products in a locked cabinet
  • Latch the doors and lids to the washer and dryer closed 
  • Remove the large knobs from the washer and dryer when not in use, to prevent the person from tampering with the appliances 

Safety tips for outside the home of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

  • Securely lock the garage to keep motor vehicles, tools, machines, sports equipment, chemicals, paint, fertilizer, and other potentially dangerous items out of the person’s reach
  • Ensure that outdoor lighting is adequate, and install motion detectors that turn the lights on as someone approaches the house 
  • Mark the edges of steps with bright or reflective tape, and keep the steps sturdy and textured to help prevent falls 
  • Minimize tripping hazards by ensuring that hoses, tools, overgrown foliage, and other objects are kept clear of the walkways
  • Supervise use of any outdoor grills or barbecues, and secure fire starters and fuel sources when not in use
  • Install a fence around the swimming pool, and restrict access with a locked gate when not in use
  • Place a “No Salesman” or “No Soliciting” sign outside the home 
  • Put a small bench beside the door to put groceries or parcels on when unlocking the door

Remember that it might not be necessary to make all of the suggested safety changes, as everyone’s living conditions are different. However, it’s a good idea to add them as necessary when the person’s abilities and behaviour change as their condition progresses.

You may also want to consider arranging for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia care, on an as-needed basis or complete in-home care 24/7. At CareHop, our mission is to bring joy and sunshine into the lives of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and bring peace of mind to their families that their loved ones are provided with thoughtful, respectful, and empathetic care.

For more information about our programs that focus on your family’s needs, please feel free to contact us anytime.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop, specializing in providing compassionate support for individuals and families touched by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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