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Guide to Making Your Home Safe for a Loved One with Dementia

Consider Your Long-Term Plan

Like with many things in life, if you start with the end goal of how you would like your loved one with dementia to live out their life, you can both enjoy success at every step of their journey.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What type of dementia does my loved one have?
  • What are common symptoms at different stages of the disease?
  • At what point do we bring in help?
  • What would be a key deciding factor of when it’s no longer safe to stay in the home?
  • What are the greatest effects of dementia on safety in the home?

Every person’s journey with dementia is different, but some characteristics of dementia can be actively prepared for. By taking steps ahead of time to prepare your home, design a smart action plan, and create a timeframe for assistance, you can ensure they enjoy the comfortable, safe living environment they deserve.

Making Your Home Safe for Your Loved One

Assess Every Area of Your Home

Start out by taking a look at your (or their) entire home through the eyes of a person with dementia. As you walk through the home, consider what areas, objects, and furniture designs could potentially cause harm to your loved one and be a risk for their health. Make sure you don’t just consider individual items, but whole areas, such as the garage and kitchen. Are there any safety measures on drawers, shelves, or other area containing dangerous objects? Will stairs, steps, or ledges cause potential risk for your loved one? All of these factors must be taken into consideration to ensure a safe and healthy living area.

Create an Action Plan / Walkthrough

Review the following areas and determine how safe your home is for your loved one with dementia. Follow the tips to help improve individual areas and eliminate items that may lead to injuries!

  • Access to the Home
    • Make sure all paths and steps are easily seen and free of obstacles
    • Consider where ramps for stairs could be installed
  • Common Area
    • Make it a clutter free environment
    • When items are not being used, put them away
    • Review floors for trip hazards and slick surfaces
    • Remove extension cords and area rugs
    • Consider adding deadbolts or latches to the exit door
    • Furniture height needs to be comfortable to get in and out of
  • Kitchen
    • Keep floors clear of trip and slip hazards
    • Remove or put away all flammable materials
    • Put medications that need to be stored in the refrigerator in a small lock box (you can uses a petty cash box)
    • Keep Is electrical and gas equipment in a safe place
    • Lock up cleaning supplies (poisons)
  • Bathroom
    • Keep floors dry, free of clutter
    • Make sure water temperature can’t get too hot
    • Put away potential poisons
    • Make sure toilet height and grab bars are accessible
    • Install support bars or chairs in shower
    • Keep toilet paper visible and accessible
  • Bedroom
    • Adjust the bed height to be easy to get in and out of
    • Provide a chair in the bedroom for dressing
    • Make all lights and night lights easy to turn on and off
    • Don’t allow for an outside exit, or lock it and put an alarm on it
  • General Areas
    • Place all medications in a locked drawer or cabinet
    • Add rails to areas of any elevation change
    • Lock or disguise hazardous areas
    • Keep walkways well-lit
    • Install locks out of sight
    • Watch the temperature of water and food
    • Support the person’s needs

We also encourage you to be prepared for emergencies at all times. Make sure you evaluate and re-evaluate the risk of wandering by your loved one. If you have alarms or locks in place, make sure these safety devices are all in working order. If there are any firearms in your home, keep them disabled or remove them for safety purposes. Another great step you can take for your loved one is to create a “call in case of” list with all relevant emergency contacts.

Located in Granite Bay, All Seasons cares about giving elderly citizens a comfortable, warm, and safe living environment. Check back in next week for our blog on planning healthy, fun activities for your loved one with dementia.