Safety at Home for Older Adults

The day-to-day worries of providing care for someone you love with Alzheimer’s are continually evolving. Today, the challenge may be frustration because of the lack of ability to communicate effectively. Next week, it may be wandering and wanting to go “home.” There could be sleepless nights if sundowning is a factor, or aggressive actions and words originating apparently out of the blue.

Through it all, safety at home for older adults is key, and that should begin with determining if your home environment is favorable to the unique needs of somebody with Alzheimer’s. A great first step is to take a quick walk-through evaluation of your home to discover issues such as tripping hazards (clutter, cords, loose throw rugs, etc.), insufficient lighting, or the unsafe storage of hazardous items (knives, cleaning products, etc.).

Then, implement any or all of these ideas from our expert memory care team:

  • Use labels. Labeling frequently-used items, either with pictures or words, often helps jog the senior’s memory and enhance independence. Attach labels on the cabinets and refrigerator to designate what is inside, in the bathroom with simple details about the morning routine, and on the older adult’s closets and dresser drawers.
  • Contrast colors, but minimize busy patterns. Using contrasting colors such as a white plate on a red placemat assists in easing visual confusion. Also keep in mind that bright patterns may lead to overstimulation, or increase delusions and hallucinations; for instance, the senior may envision insects moving across a busy pattern on the bedspread or rug.
  • Pay attention to doorways. Keep any doors safely locked that may lead to harm for the older adult, such as the door to the basement or garage, and the front/back entryway doors. But leave other doors inside the house open, so that the senior can more easily navigate through the rest of the home.
  • Place photos strategically around the house. Pictures of loved ones and happy memories that you can point out and talk about together often helps the individual see the home as a positive environment, and also act as a distraction when needed from challenging behaviors or moods.
  • Keep frequently-used items easy to access. The television remote, cups and other utensils, a favorite blanket or pillow – anything the older adult wants to have on hand often – should be left somewhere front and center for the person to spot easily, or, kept in a labeled location to reduce frustration.
  • Install an elevated toilet seat, non-slip mats, and grab bars. In the event that you do not already have these safety items in place in the bathroom, now is a great time to reduce the chance of falls.

Inspired Home Care’s skilled memory care professionals are available to perform a walk-through of your house as well and to make additional suggestions to increase safety at home for older adults with dementia. Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to find out more about our compassionate Barrington senior care and the communities we serve. For details about all of our home care services and the areas we serve, please visit our Locations Served page.