Home safety becomes even more important when your senior loved one has dementia. People with dementia are at risk for injuries if they’re unable to make the appropriate decisions to keep themselves safe. These safety tips are easy to implement and can make life easier for you and your loved one.
1. Adjust Hot Water Controls
Hot water burns are a common injury for seniors with dementia. Start by setting the thermostat on the hot water heater to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius). Also, consider marking the hot water knobs on all the faucets in the home to make them easier for your loved one to identify. If your loved one has severe dementia, you may want to look for anti-scald bathtub valves as an added safety precaution.
2. Remove Hazardous Materials
Most homes have a variety of materials that are considered potentially dangerous to humans. Seniors with dementia may accidentally mix chemicals that don’t belong together, such as ammonia and bleach, or they may mistake household cleansers for something they can drink. Put all household chemicals away in a locked cabinet. You may also need to put away dangerous tools, knives, and other sharp objects.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Centennial families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
3. Mark Specific Areas of the Home
Dementia can generate changes in perception. For instance, your loved one may not be able to tell when the slope of the floor rises. Use tape to mark the edges of stairs so your loved one can tell the difference in elevation. You can also add stickers or other decorative objects to glass doors and windows to make them easier for your loved one to see.
4. Choose How to Manage Electrical Appliances
Your loved one may not be able to cook independently at some point. If he or she continues to try to cook, you may need to put covers over the controls on the stove and other heated appliances. Seniors with dementia who are still able to cook on their own may need to have automatic shutoff controls placed on their appliances.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care service. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
5. Add a Monitor to the Bedroom
Video monitors provide a way to check in on your loved one while he or she is alone in a room. Your loved one can use the monitor to call out for help, and you can look in at night to make sure he or she is soundly asleep. Keep in mind this strategy may only work well temporarily. At some point, your loved one may need constant overnight supervision by a professional caregiver. This is especially important if he or she wakes up frequently. If you’re a heavy sleeper, having someone else keep watch over your parent can prevent accidents.
6. Reduce Access to Outside Areas
Seniors with dementia are most at risk when they leave home unattended. Consider adding locks and warning signs to doors you don’t want your loved one to exit through. You might also need to lock your car and store your keys away from your loved one’s reach. Bicycles and other forms of transportation may need to be made inaccessible.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Centennial live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (303) 957-3100.