Whether you are moving your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (Ad) in with you and your family, or he/she is staying at home with extended home care services, you will need to know some important factors on home modification for safety and adaptation to ease the burden on you, the caregiver.
Many home modification projects can increase safety, while maintaining a higher level of safety and self-respect for your loved one with AD.
Not every home modification is suggested for each individual with AD because the symptoms manifest differently in each person. Below is a list of suggestions that you can use to individualize your home modification plan. Many will involve hiring professionals to complete the job while other modifications are simple tasks that any handyman can do. It’s important to consider the costs compared to risks involved in order to define the perfect home modification plan for your loved one. Here are a few suggestions:
Install smoke detectors and remove stove dials for fire safety
Lower hot water temperature in hot water heaters
Build a ramp to use in place of stairs and install handrails outside where there are stairs, in hallways and grab bars in the bathroom
Build a chair lift for use to avoid stairs-or an elevator if your budget will allow it
Install gaits for safety to prevent falling down stairs or block off rooms with hazardous items
Install locking doors to areas with hazardous materials
Improve lighting in areas such as halls and install nightlights where needed to light areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms and other areas used at night
Consider building an additional bathroom adjacent to your loved one’s bedroom for safety and convenience-particularly at night
Add a wheel chair accessible bathroom or revamp an existing one to accommodate transfers to the toilet and tub (include a hand held shower for bathing)
Reduce chance of wandering by installing a fence with locking gate-fences should also be installed for safety around pools or other dangerous areas
Install an alarm that will alert you when someone exits doors so you know when your loved one goes outside and about.
Use safety locks for windows-particularly those located above the first floor
Consider a refrigerator lock to prevent over eating at night and install kitchen cabinet locks to keep chemicals locked up
These are just a few ideas for home modification for those with AD. To see more detailed information on safety CLICK HERE to view a previous post. CLICK HERE to learn more about Alzheimer’s prevention and nutrition for caregivers in our AlzU.org 25 topic caregiver’s course at AlzU.org.