As Alzheimer's disease progresses, your loved one's home may not be the safe haven it once was. Symptoms of the disease, such as balance difficulties, could lead to home injuries. If your parent has Alzheimer's and is still living in their home, here are some tips to make it safer for him or her.
Assess the Home
Your plan to make your parent's home safer should start with a thorough assessment of its condition. Look at it from the perspective of your parent. Remember, that as the disease progresses, your parent becomes more susceptible to injuries, such as tripping on rugs and leaving the home without notice.
As you go from room to room assessing its condition, make a list of changes that need to be done to make it safe. Place them in order of importance and use it to make the changes needed. In addition to those changes, there are even more that need to be made.
Move the Locks
Chances are, the locks in your parent's home are most likely easily accessible to your parent. His or her mental state does not necessarily mean that your parent will lose the ability to open the locks. In fact, it is common for people with the disease to wander from home without notice.
The locks in the home need to be placed in a higher position so that your parent cannot reach them. You also need to replace all of the locks with deadbolts that unlock with a key. Keep one set of keys with you at all times and place another set in a hidden location near the door.
The locks to bedrooms and bathrooms need to be removed. Your parent could accidentally lock himself or herself in the room. Childproof latches should also be installed on the cabinets and drawers so that your parent does not have access to hazardous items, such as cleaning products.
Adjust the Water Heater
Alzheimer's can affect your parent's ability to accurately judge temperatures as the disease progresses. To avoid injury from accidentally using water that is too hot, lower the temperature of the water heater.
The recommended setting to prevent burns is 120 degrees. If your parent's water heater is not equipped with a thermostat, you can run the water for a few minutes and then check the temperature with a thermometer.
There are many other adjustments that need to be made in your parent's home to make it safe for him or her. Work with your parent's doctor and other caregivers like Bethesda Health Care Facility to ensure that it is.