Adapting Your Home for Your Loved One With Alzheimer's
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s at home can be difficult, especially if they are living with you.
Not only must space often be reorganized, but every room in the house that your loved one uses should be made as accident-proof as possible. Here are some tips to consider to help ensure a safe home environment for your loved one with Alzheimer's.
There are about 10 million people in the U.S. -- mostly women – who have chosen to take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a grueling job in itself, but many aren’t only caregiving. They’re also raising kids of their own -- and maybe working – at the same time.
“You’re already a parent to your children, and then suddenly you have to become a caregiver to your parent,” says Donna Schempp, LCSW, program director at the Family Caregiver Alliance in San Francisco. “It’s very hard to...
Note: Not all of these recommendations may benefit your loved one's situation.
Entrance and Exit
Can the house or apartment be entered and exited safely?
Is there a secure railing?
Are the stairs or ramps in good repair, without loose or uneven boards?
Can visitors be seen prior to their entering the house or apartment?
Does the lock work?
Can the lock easily be opened for an emergency exit?
Is the entrance/exit well lit and free of clutter?
Do you have an emergency exit plan and more than one fire escape route?
Are the walking pathways uncluttered?
Can your loved one get up and down from the sofa or chair safely? If not, consider investing in chairs with straight backs, armrests, and firm seats. Adding a firm cushion to existing pieces of furniture adds height to them, making it easier to get in and out of.
Can windows and doors be opened easily and locked securely?
Can the television be easily managed?
Can the light switches be manipulated easily? If not, try touchable lamps or those that react to sound.
Are electrical cords and telephone cords secured and out of the way to prevent tripping? Do not run cords under furniture or rugs where they can become frayed or damaged. Secure them with tape, not sharp tacks or nails.
Adapt the telephone by changing the small buttons to larger push buttons to ease dialing. Have frequently called and emergency numbers programmed into speed dial or tape these numbers to the phone receiver. Keep a portable or tabletop phone where it can be accessed in case of a fall.
Is the doorway accessible?
Are the appliances in working order?
Can the faucets of the sink be manipulated? If not, consider extended hand levers to make them easier to turn.
Can the refrigerator and freezer be opened and closed?
Can the high and low cabinets be safely opened and closed?
Is there adequate workspace?
Can utensils, pots and pans, and food be safely reached?
Can the stove controls and door be safely managed?
Can the outlets be reached?
Can food be safely transported to the eating area?
Are sharp objects safely stored?
Are flammables kept away from the stove area (towels, curtains and other flammable items should be kept away from the range/stove)?
Is the doorway accessible?
Can your loved one get in and out of bed safely? If not, consider purchasing an electric bed or mattress.
Is the light accessible from the bed?
Can the phone be easily reached?
Can clothing in the closet and dresser be reached?