One of the primary concerns when caring for an Alzheimer's patient is the safety risks that seem to crop up at every turn. What might seem safe for a normal person could turn into a serious safety hazard for someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Prevention versus Reaction
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in the case of Alzheimer's safety precautions, this is definitely the case. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), caregivers should carefully monitor potential safety concerns and neutralize them as quickly as possible. No one can predict another person's behavior, but it is a good idea for caregivers to seek out problems before they occur. This might include daily sweeps of the home in search of matches, lighters, sharp objects and slick surfaces that might cause injury to the Alzheimer's patient.
Childproofing the Home
One of the best Alzheimer's safety precautions for the home is to childproof as many doors, cabinets, appliances and other items as possible. It might even be necessary to remove potentially-dangerous objects and appliances that cannot be safely contained. For example, in the kitchen, small appliances like coffeemakers and toaster ovens can be stored in locked or otherwise secure cabinets until they are needed for use. The same goes for things like ironing boards, which are not used daily and can be secreted away. Other items, however, might need to be taken out of the home entirely, or moved to a room to which the patient does not have access.
Let There Be Light
Most people who suffer from Alzheimer's are elderly, and therefore suffer from physical, as well as psychological, limitations. Failing eyesight can create a serious problem, so one of the most important Alzheimer's safety precautions for the home is to install adequate lighting. This will help the patient enjoy activities such as reading or playing cards, and will allow them to navigate otherwise dark rooms and hallways without danger of falling.
Unfortunately, another one of the essential Alzheimer's safety precautions for the home is securing all doors and windows. Patients suffering from dementia might forget who they are or where they live, and might attempt to leave the home unassisted. This is particularly true at night when most of the home's occupants are asleep. Installing doors that require a key rather than a thumb-turn deadbolt are best for this scenario. It might also be necessary to lock all exterior windows, just to be on the safe side.
Think Like a Parent
In addition to childproofing the home, caregivers should also start thinking like parents when it comes to Alzheimer's safety precautions for the home. Anything a small child might do to injure herself is also a possibility with someone who suffers from dementia. Keep cleaning solutions out of reach, monitor use of electronics, secure medication in a locked cabinet, and secure both weapons and alcohol.
These simple-yet-essential safety precautions may avert disaster, and will make living with Alzheimer's much easier on both the patient and the caregiver.