Dementia is a brain disorder that causes behavioral changes and changes in mental cognition for those living with the disease. Those living with dementia, a debilitating disease that includes the more readily recognized term Alzheimer’s disease, tend to lose the ability to remember names, arrange thoughts coherently and forget their current surroundings. As the disease progresses, communication becomes more difficult for the sufferer and agitation can occur.
Creating a home that is safe and comfortable for both the care giver and individual is very important. Following are 15 simple tips that can help care givers keep those afflicted with the disease safer in their home or living space.
15 Simple Safety Tips
- Keep the home quiet and background noise to a minimum.
- Install child proof locks and latches high on doors may help deter wandering into unsafe areas.
- Keep keys out of sight.
- Post signs on doors like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
- Place a stop sign on the door to the exterior or unsafe areas (basement stairs).
- Place familiar items where they can be seen. This helps the individual feel safer and less agitated.
- Organize and declutter surroundings. This reduces anxiety, one of the potential causes for wandering.
- Nighttime and sun downing (when the person becomes increasingly agitated as evening advances) can be challenging for both the care giver and the person with dementia. Modifying sleeping arrangements can help reduce the agitation. The bedroom should be cool as this is conducive to sleep and comfort.
- Keep bedding and pajamas comfortable so they don’t restrict movement.
- Fill the sleeping area with familiar objects. Examples include a favorite soft blanket or pillow or a picture of a family member.
- Include a nightlight. It shouldn’t be too bright as this could interrupt sleep.
- Ensure that there is sufficient night-time lighting so that if wandering does occur, it will not be hazardous.
- Remove all cords so they don’t become a trip hazard.
- Make it easy for the wanderer to easily find the bathroom and their way back to their room.
- Ensure the person receives sunlight during the day. This helps restore the body’s natural time clock and may help reduce issues with sleeping.
There are other considerations when caring for someone suffering from dementia. With some safety precautions and comfort guidelines, those caring for suffers may reduce some of the common problems that happen in the course of the disease.
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