The daily worries of providing care for a senior loved one with dementia are continually changing. Today, the challenge may be frustration because of the lack of ability to communicate effectively. Next week, it may be wandering and wanting to go “home.” There may be sleepless nights if sundowning is an issue, or aggressive actions and words that come apparently out of the blue.
Through it all, safety is a top priority, and that starts with making sure your home environment is conducive to the distinct needs of someone with Alzheimer’s. A beneficial first step is to take a quick walk-through appraisal of your home to find issues such as tripping hazards (clutter, cords, loose throw rugs, etc.), inadequate lighting, or the unsafe storage of hazardous items (cleaning products, knives, etc.).
Then, implement any or all of these home modification for older adults from our Des Moines dementia care experts:
- Use labels. Labeling widely-used items, either with words or pictures, can help jog the senior’s memory and increase independence. Place labels on the cabinets and refrigerator to identify what is inside, in the bathroom with simple details for the morning routine, and on the senior’s closets and dresser drawers.
- Contrast colors, but reduce busy patterns. Using contrasting colors such as a white plate on a red placemat helps reduce visual confusion. In addition, keep in mind bright patterns can lead to overstimulation, or increase delusions and hallucinations, as the older adult may envision bugs moving across a busy pattern on the bedspread or rug.
- Pay attention to doorways. Keep any doors securely locked that could result in harm for the older adult, such as the door to the basement or garage, and also the front/back entryway doors. But leave other doors in the house open, so the senior loved one can more easily navigate through the rest of the home.
- Place photos purposefully throughout the house. Pictures of family and friends and happy memories that you can point to and discuss together can help the individual see the home as a positive environment, and also serve as a distraction when needed from challenging behaviors or moods.
- Keep frequently-used items easily accessible. The TV remote, cups along with other utensils, a favorite blanket or pillow – anything the senior wants to have on hand often – should be left somewhere front and center for the person to identify easily, or, kept in a labeled location to lessen frustration.
- Install a raised toilet seat, non-slip mats, and grab bars. If you do not currently have these safety items set up in the bathroom, now is the perfect time to reduce the threat of falls.
As the Des Moines dementia care experts, At-Home Care Company’s skilled care professionals are available to complete a walk-through of your house as well and to make further home modification for older adults recommendations to enhance safety and comfort for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Reach out to us online or give us at (515) 292-2650 to learn more about our trusted dementia care in Des Moines, IA and surrounding communities. To learn about each of the areas we serve, please visit our Service Area page.