Four Ways To Make Your Home Safer For A Family Member With Dementia

If you're looking into home care for your elderly family member, you first need to make sure that your home is suitable. Elders with dementia can get confused very easily and may find it difficult to navigate a once familiar home. Still, a home is almost always the best environment for them -- if home care can be provided.

1. Place a Gate Around the Stairs

A toddler gate or even a pet gate can be suitable for this -- it just needs to be something that your elder family member will remember that they aren't supposed to open and cross. For elderly family members with dementia, there's generally no safe way for them to use the stairs if someone isn't actively guiding them. If your bedrooms are at the top of stairs, it may be best to find a way to relocate them to the ground floor. 

2. Unplug the Stove and Related Appliances

The stove, toaster and related appliances should either be unplugged or attached to an extension cord that can be turned off. This should occur whenever you're done using these items. While it may be frustrating, it's very important. An elderly family member with dementia may try to cook and could start a very serious fire by forgetting items on the stove or inside the oven. 

3. Place a Door Alarm

It's very dangerous to create doors that need to be unlocked to be opened. It is a fire hazard; if there's a fire, your family member may not be able to escape. But what you can do is set a door alarm that will go off if the door is opened without the code being entered. Your elderly family member's home care assistant will be notified if your family member attempts to leave. Even if your family member is being taken care of very well, they can't be watched 100% of the time (such as when a care assistant is in the bathroom).

4. Install Rails in the Bathroom

The bathroom is likely the most dangerous area in your home for an elderly family member. Though they may have help getting in and out of the bath, it's usually a good idea to also install rails that they can grab onto. You may also want to purchase a low-edged bathtub that's easier to climb into.

If home care cannot be provided or your home cannot be made safe enough for the elder, it's best to contact a senior care center or senior care services like Comforter Home Care - Rockaway, NJ. They can give you advice regarding your elder family member's care and connect you to resources that can help you. There are even programs available that could help you arrange in home care if you can't presently afford it.