Alzheimer's Disease and Home Safety
People with Alzheimer's disease present unique challenges to their caregivers. As a caregiver, you face the ongoing challenge of adapting to each change in the person's behavior and functioning, and may wonder if it is safe to leave the person alone. Whether the person with Alzheimer's is left alone or is under supervision, it is important to implement general home safety principles, such as: thinking about prevention, adapting the environment, and minimizing danger.
Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease is a challenge that calls upon the patience, creativity, knowledge, and skills of each caregiver.
People with Alzheimer's disease become increasingly unable to take care of themselves. However, individuals will move through the disease in their own unique manner. As a caregiver, you face the ongoing challenge of adapting to each change in the person's behavior and functioning. The following general principles may be helpful.
- Think prevention: It is very difficult to predict what a person with Alzheimer's disease might do. Just because something has not yet occurred, does not mean it should not be cause for concern. Even with the best-laid plans, accidents can happen. Therefore, checking the safety of your home will help you take control of some of the potential problems that may create hazardous situations.
- Adapt the environment: It is more effective to change the environment than to change most behaviors. While some Alzheimer's disease behaviors can be managed with special medications prescribed by a doctor, many cannot. You can make changes in an environment to decrease the hazards and stressors that accompany these behavioral and functional changes.
- Minimize danger: By minimizing danger, you can maximize independence. A safe environment can be a less restrictive environment where the person with Alzheimer's disease can experience increased security and more mobility.