Adapting Your Home To Care For A Loved One With Alzheimer's

Posted on: 6 November 2014


Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that affects more than 5 million Americans. According to a report by the Alzheimer's Association, in 2010 nearly 15 million unpaid caregivers (primarily family members) provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care to Alzheimer's patients, many of whom were being watched over in the homes of family members. If you are one of those in-home family caregivers, one of your top concerns is the safety of your loved one, who may suffer from memory loss, confusion with time or place, and a decrease in judgment making skills, among other things. The tips below can help you create a safe environment, making the task of keeping a family member with Alzheimer's safe at home that much easier.

  • Use locks on all possible entry and exit points. Alzheimer's patients are prone to wandering. Installing locks on all windows and doors can prevent a confused person from ending up outside, where they could be exposed to many dangers. If the person who is suffering from Alzheimer's becomes familiar with a certain lock, consider changing it out for a new one.
  • Other locks inside the home--on bedroom or bathroom doors, for instance--can pose a problem, mainly the risk that the person with Alzheimer's may lock themselves in. Consider removing these locks.
  • recommends storing potentially hazardous items (knives, guns, chemicals) out of reach and using childproof latches on cabinets and other areas that hold dangerous materials.
  • The Mayo Clinic suggests removing rugs, extension cords, and other clutter that poses a risk of tripping or falling. If removing rugs isn't an option, look into adhesive backing, which can be applied to keep rugs from slipping and lifting up from the ground. As an added precaution, install handrails in slip-prone areas such as the bathroom, or in areas that may require more effort to get around (sofas or deep chairs).
  • Make sure lighting throughout the home is sufficient. Well-lit areas decrease the likelihood of a patient with Alzheimer's tripping over furniture and other items, which they may forget the location of. Critical areas include stairwells and long hallways. Consider using night lights throughout the home at night to help your loved one make their way safely to the bathroom or other areas of the home.
  • In the kitchen, make sure any items your loved one may need to use frequently are easily accessible. If necessary, rearrange your cabinets to allow better, lower access to everyday items.

Every person with Alzheimer's will have different needs. Assess your home through the eyes of your loved one to find the adaptations that will help them feel as secure and independent as possible, and both you and your loved one will feel happier and more confident. For assistance from specialists, contact professionals, such as Assisting Hands Naples.