Ways You Can Improve Your Home for a Loved One With Alzheimer’s
It can be difficult to learn that your loved one or family member has Alzheimer’s, but with the many improvements in management in the field of medicine, things are not as bleak as they once were. While additional care and assistance is often necessary when helping loved ones manage daily, it can be very beneficial to keep them at home in a familiar environment. However, your home is going to need many modifications to make it safe. Consider the following ways to improve your home to keep your loved one secure and in comfort.
Keep Walkways Clear
One of the changes you may have to make to your home will be keeping on top of cleaning. Mobility is going to become a challenge for your loved one, if it isn’t already an issue. To do your best to prevent injury from falls or bad bumps, make sure your pathways are clear from any clutter and that your walkways are fully visible with lots of illumination. The better loved ones can see, the less likely they will fall. This is especially important for areas where seniors will spend most of their time (whether that is the living room, a sitting or TV room, etc.).
To make your loved one’s life as easy and safe as possible, you may decide to remodel parts of your home. Two of the most dangerous rooms for someone with Alzheimer’s are the kitchen and the bathroom. By completing a remodel, you can make each room much more accessible. While the average cost to remodel a bathroom is $8,820, it can dramatically improve the quality of life for loved ones. If they require a wheelchair, there are sinks and showers specifically made to accommodate them. Installing bars in showers and baths for family members to hold onto can also be a great way to keep them safe.
One aspect of living at home that can actually be a detriment when compared to an assisted living facility is the potential for loneliness. Even if you bring in a caregiver to help when you’re at work, there will be plenty of times when your loved one is alone. By adding stimulating activities to your loved one’s day, but also by ensuring extended family and friends visit regularly, you can prevent your senior from feeling lonely.
If you know your family member with Alzheimer’s is a wanderer, it may be a good idea to add locks and deadbolts to windows and doors he or she has access to during the day. Even just a small walk in a familiar neighborhood can be dangerous as memory degrades. However, it is a good idea to also remove locks from bathrooms and bedrooms. If loved ones have a slip in the tub or a fall when trying to dress, easy access is incredibly important to get them help as quickly as possible.
To further ensure the safety of your family member with Alzheimer’s, taking away or hiding things that are dangerous is imperative. Think about removing the knobs on your kitchen stove to prevent fires and gas leaks while you are away. It may be second nature for loved ones to cook, or they may accidentally turn the stove on while going about their day. To prevent mishaps, it is important to also hide medication, chemicals, and anything that could be toxic in locked drawers that remain inaccessible to your Alzheimer’s patient.
There is no denying that helping your loved one with Alzheimer’s will be a struggle. However, with the proper precautions and by ensuring that family members stay active and safe, you can greatly increase their quality of life. By surrounding your loved one with memories and with love and safety, you can both lead fulfilling lives together.
Article written by Paul Denikin