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Adapting Your Home for Your Loved One With Alzheimer's

(continued)

Bathroom

  • Is the doorway accessible?
  • Can your loved one safely get in and out of the shower or bathtub? If not, install grab bars on the inside and outside of the bathtub or shower. Towel racks are not sturdy enough to be used as grab bars.
  • Will a tub bench or tub chair be needed? If so, use only ones with nonskid tips.
  • Are there bath mats or nonskid strips in place?
  • Can your loved one safely transfer to the toilet? If not, install a safety frame, raised seat, or grab bar.
  • Can the outlets be reached? Test GFCI outlets monthly by pushing the test button to make sure the appliance turns off and that it resets.
  • Can the light switches be turned on and off?
  • Can the faucet be easily used? If not, consider extended hand levers to make them easier to turn.
  • Is there a night light?
  • If there is a small bathroom rug, get rid of it. Replace it with a large rug that covers most of the floor and apply an adhesive back to it.

Stairways

  • Is a secure handrail present? It may be helpful to install a second handrail so there is one on both sides of the stairs.
  • Is there adequate lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs?
  • Is the carpet secure?
  • Put rough texture treads on steps with a smooth surface.
  • Are the steps free of clutter?
  • If stairs are difficult, it may be helpful to arrange most of the activities on the lower level of the house.

General

  • Are there working smoke detectors on every floor? Remember to change the batteries frequently.
  • Are there space heaters, electric blankets, or other fire hazards? If so, remove them. If they must be used, follow the manufacturer's safety instructions and keep them on a sturdy surface away from rugs, curtains, furniture, or papers.
  • Is there a carbon monoxide detector? If so, is it working properly?
  • Are the electrical cords in good condition and free of frays?
  • Are there outlets or switches that are unusually warm or hot to touch? If so, have the wiring replaced as soon as possible and do not use them.
  • Is there adequate lighting throughout the house or apartment? Consider using small night lights to light up the hallways or bathroom to assist your loved one during the night.
  • Are all of the small rugs and runners slip-resistant? If your loved one requires the use of a walker or wheelchair, remove all throw rugs.
  • Is the house or apartment free of insects or other pests?
  • Are the plumbing and utilities working? Make sure the hot water thermostat is set to "low" or 120 degrees to prevent burns.
  • Can the mail be retrieved safely? If not, arrange for someone to pick up the mail for your loved one.
  • Is phone accessible to your loved one? Suggestion: keep a cordless phone near your loved one's chair or put it in a pocket/pouch and attach it to his or her walker/wheelchair (if applicable).
  • Are emergency phone numbers posted on or near the telephone?
  • Are all medicines stored in the containers that they came in?
  • Are all medications clearly marked and stored away from children and your loved one?
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on June 28, 2014
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