The daily challenges of providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s are continuously changing. Today, the challenge may be frustration because of the inability to communicate effectively. Next week, it could be wandering and seeking to go “home.” There could be sleepless nights if sundowning is a factor, or aggressive actions and words which come from seemingly nowhere.
Through all of it, safety is a top priority, and therefore should begin with determining that the home environment is conducive to the distinct needs of someone with Alzheimer’s. A good starting point is to take a quick walk-through assessment of your house to discover issues including tripping hazards (clutter, cords, loose throw rugs, etc.), inadequate lighting, or the inappropriate storage of hazardous items (knives, cleaning products, etc.).
Then, put into action any or all of these ideas to help create a dementia-friendly home from our experts in home care in Gilford and the surrounding areas:
- Use labels. Labeling frequently-used items, either with words or pictures, will help jog the senior’s memory and enhance independence. Place labels on the cabinets and refrigerator to designate what is inside, in the bathroom with basic details for the morning routine, and on the older adult’s dresser drawers and closets.
- Contrast colors, but minimize busy patterns. Using contrasting colors such as a white plate on a navy placemat helps reduce visual confusion. In addition, know that bright patterns can cause overstimulation, or increase hallucinations and delusions; for example, senior may envision insects moving across a busy pattern on the bedspread or rug.
- Pay attention to doorways. Keep any doors securely locked that could lead to harm for the senior loved one, such as the door to the garage or basement, as well as the front/back entryway doors. But leave other doors inside the house open, so the senior can 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 talk about together can help the individual see the home as a positive environment, and also act as a distraction when needed from challenging behaviors or moods.
- Keep frequently-used items easy to access. The TV remote, cups as well as other utensils, a favorite blanket or pillow – anything the senior loved one would like 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 an elevated toilet seat, non-slip mats, and grab bars. If you don’t currently have these safety items set up in the bathroom, now is an ideal time to reduce the threat of falls.
Live Free Home Health Care’s knowledgeable care professionals are available to perform a walk-through of your house as well and to make additional recommendations for creating a dementia-friendly home. Reach out to us online or give us a call at 603-217-0149 to learn more about our compassionate home care in Gilford or the surrounding communities.