If you are part of a family living with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to remember that one of the keys to aging at home is doing so safely. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease does not have to signal the loss of independence and freedom. As many as 70 percent of people living in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s today are doing so in their own homes.
Safety at home begins with adapting the environment to support the changing abilities of the person with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to re-evaluate home safety measures regularly as the disease progresses.
A person with dementia may be at risk in certain areas of the home or outdoors. Pay special attention to garages, work rooms, basements and outside areas. Inside the home, there are simple things you can do to modify your kitchen, living room, bathrooms and bedrooms to make them safer for the person with Alzheimer’s.
Invest in installed, working fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Lock or disguise hazardous areas using child-proof locks and doorknob covers and limit access to places with knives, appliances and poisonous chemicals. Minimize clutter and limit access to stairs to reduce risk of falls.
Enroll the person with dementia in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return®, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. You may also want to consider the Alzheimer’s Association Comfort ZoneTM, powered by Omnilink, a Web-based GPS location management service.
For more tips on home safety, including concerns about wandering, disaster preparedness, traveling with Alzheimer’s and medication safety, visit the Alzheimer’s Association Safety Center at www.alz.org/safetycenter or call 1.800.272.3900 to find the Alzheimer’s Association chapter closest to you.