Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that will more and more affect a patient’s brain. The centers most affected are those of memory, sound judgment, communication, and decision-making. While slow at the onset, the illness will build momentum, and it is not unusual for the patient to eventually need round the clock care. Many a time a family member or friend will take on the role of initial caregiver to permit the patient to live with dignity and to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible before having to enter a resident care facility.
If you find yourself in the position of caregiver, please note that this can be one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever encounter. Additionally, it will permit you to make your loved one’s life more enjoyable and worth living than other alternatives may be able to do. Yet in order to keep your loved one safe, especially as the illness progresses, it is important to remember that there are a few steps you will need to take to make your loved one’s home a safe and secure haven for her or him.
Here are some tried tips and tricks that will help your loved one to remain safe at home:
- Very often those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease will become confused and get lost very easily. At the onset of the disease, this may be an infrequent problem, but it is quite possible that the frequency of periods of confusion will increase. Thus, if your loved one has a dog for which she or he cares, accompany her or him on the daily walks. As time progresses and her or his mobility decreases, consider hiring a reliable neighborhood kid or even a professional service that will come and walk the pet for your loved one.
- If your loved one enjoys gardening, be sure to help out. You may wish to install a sturdy garden gate that will prevent her or him from wandering off and getting lost. Similarly, the application of garden chemicals and maintenance that involves dangerous tools should be done either by you or a professional gardener as time goes on.
- Purchase a medical ID bracelet for your loved one and make sure he or she wears it. This way, if the patient gets confused and wanders away from the home, identification is possible when a neighbor or the police pick up her or him.
- Collect all household chemicals and poisons and keep them in one locked cabinet. As the illness progresses, your loved one may be confused with respect to hazardous substances and may not remember which materials are dangerous if ingested. By keeping these chemicals under lock and key you will avoid accidental poisonings.
- You may further aid your loved one in preventing accidental poisonings by monitoring her or his intake of medications. By parceling the pills into weekly sorting strips you will be able to keep track of which medication need to be taken at what time. This will help you and your loved one to make sure that all pills are taken according to the doctor’s instructions.
- If your loved one enjoys alcohol, you may need to curtail that consumption since many medications very specifically state that they should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol. Alcohol free variations of beer, sparkling cider, and mixed drinks will present an enjoyable alternative.
- If your loved one smokes, this habit may provide danger as the illness progresses. A forgotten cigarette near flammable materials may very well set the house on fire, and for this reason it would be best if you helped your loved one to let go of this habit.
Remove lose throw rugs, long curtain cords, or furniture that may get tangle with wheelchairs, walkers, or canes.
- Install additional lighting, if needed, to make sure stairwells, bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas of the house are well lit for your loved one to move about safely.
You may need to refit the bathroom with grab bars, a walk in shower, a shower chair, and anti-slip mats to make sure she or he will not fall and get hurt while using the bathroom.
As you can see, with a few minor modifications you loved one will be able to carry on her or his life as before and you will have the peace of mind knowing that she or he is safe and well cared for.
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