Posted by Lorena Romo
This guide explores, from an American perspective, how to make a home safe and enjoyable for loved ones who may be coping with these issues. The advice given is equally as relevant in the UK.
According to the National Institute on Aging in America, Alzheimer’s disease has a significant impact on a large portion of the elderly population. If your family member or loved one is coping with the signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to create a safe place for them at home. With a few easy updates and some positive reinforcement, you’ll discover some helpful ways you can make simple changes to ensure a safer environment.
The Importance and Benefits of Elder-Proofing
More of the elderly population are choosing to “age in place,” which means they’d rather stay in their homes instead of going to a nursing home or assisted living facility. You can keep your loved one safe by making some easy changes in their home. The term “elder-proofing” refers to things you can do to ensure that your loved one is safe and secure while living at home. These simple safety tips include minor updates to the home so they’ll be able to live in a safe and enjoyable home into the future. When you elder-proof a home, you’ll get peace of mind knowing you’ve taken as many precautions as possible to make sure they’re safe.
What to Expect
When you prepare to elder-proof a home, make sure that your loved one understands what you’re doing and why. Explain to them that you’re making these changes for their safety and that you want them to be able to enjoy their home for as long as possible. While you certainly want them to maintain a certain level of independence, it’s important to note that many dementia patients may tend to wander or leave their homes without supervision, so you’ll need to take this into consideration when creating your safety plan.
Be prepared to remain on alert and have your contact information posted somewhere prominent in the home in case of an emergency. A monitoring system can help your loved one alert health officials in the event of an emergency. No matter what you do to elder-proof the home, make sure it doesn’t interfere with their routine. Sticking to a schedule may help your loved one feel calm and safe even if you make a few changes to their home.
Adapting Each Room
There are several things you can do to every room of the home that will make it safer and more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions for how you can improve home safety to protect the well-being of your loved one:
Garden/Patio and Other Outdoor Areas
Make Living at Home Enjoyable
It’s easy to support and encourage positive mental well-being by doing a few simple things that may improve the outlook and daily routine for your loved one. Start by adding some cheerful decorations, artwork, or even houseplants that will help to boost their mood. Look for something that’s personal to them, such as a landscape painting of a place they’ve traveled to in the past. Family photos are another great suggestion that can keep people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia familiar with the faces of the people they love.
Aside from adding decoration to the home, it’s important that your loved one is able to stay active and engaged. Look for some fun activities they can do at home, such as puzzles, word games, and coloring books that may promote mental stimulation. It’s important for people dealing with these conditions to have plenty of distractions so they’re not engaging in potentially dangerous behaviour. Encourage them to try something new like painting, sewing, or crocheting. Arts and crafts can keep idle hands and minds busy while also providing a sense of fulfillment and pride. The key to an enjoyable time at home is to make sure the person has plenty of things to do so they feel like they’re accomplishing something each day. Whenever possible, visit your loved one and play some simple board games so they have in-person contact with people they trust.
Of course, aside from hobbies and decor, it’s also important that your loved one feels relaxed when they are at home. Encourage them to practice simple daily exercise routines to keep them limber and provide them with a positive energy boost. Some soothing music and a pair of quality headphones are another easy way to help your loved one relax. Avoid using scented candles or essential oil diffusers, as these can pose a possible fire risk. Look for air fresheners that feature their favorite fragrances, so they can enjoy soothing scents at home without worry. If your loved one is able to get outside, consider taking them to their favorite park or a quiet art museum for stimulation and fresh air.
Coping with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia isn’t easy, but with some simple safety tips, you can ensure that your loved one stays as safe as possible when they’re at home. Follow these tips and make the changes necessary so that you’ll all have peace of mind. Remember to try and make the home environment as enjoyable as possible so that they’ll want to continue living there for years to come.
This article was first published on the US website Porch.com by Lorena Romo. Autumna, which is the largest and most detailed directory of elder care providers in the UK, would like to thank Lorena for allowing us to post it again here.
Our friendly UK team at Autumna is here to provide advice if you’re researching options for alzheimer's or dementia support.
If you need more information on alzheimer's disease or dementia, or you have a separate question about later life care, you can contact Autumna by phone or email below.
Phone: 01892 335 330
Thanks for reading.
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