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Is Living at Home With Dementia Safe?

Smiling elderly woman in a wheelchair

You want to let your loved one with dementia lead an independent life as much as possible. At the same time, you want mom or dad to be safe.

It’s possible for your parent with dementia to live at home safely. However, you may need to take extra precautions. Review these eight common concerns and take action to protect your loved one from potential dangers.

Monitor Medicines

Most seniors with dementia have multiple medications or supplements. And, they need help remembering and tracking their daily doses. Keep medicines in a locked cabinet for safety. Also, keep a log or use a labeled pill box to avoid duplicate doses.

Protect Against Falls

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia may cause your parent to have trouble with balance. So, falls are a concern. In the bathroom, consider installing grab bars and using non-slip mats. Around the house, make mom or dad safe by removing rugs, floor lamps, or other tripping hazards.

Think About the Kitchen

A person with dementia may no longer be able to safely use kitchen appliances and gadgets. As a result, this puts your loved one at risk for serious injuries. You should install a stove with safety features like automatic shut off or a locking panel. Be sure that kitchen knives or other sharp items aren’t easily within reach.

Check Water Temperature

One simple way to keep mom or dad safe is to check the water temperature. The water heater should be set to no more than 120 Fahrenheit to prevent burns. To avoid any confusion, make sure the labels for hot and cold on each faucet are easy to see.

Get Rid of Weapons

It’s common for someone with dementia to mistake a loved one for a stranger. This poses a danger if mom or dad thinks an intruder is in the house. Remove or lock up all potential weapons – like guns, knives, or sharp tools – to prevent an accident. 

Watch Driving

It’s important to have a conversation about driving early. Eventually, your loved one may forget to follow traffic signs or get confused about directions. Before this happens, make a plan for other transportation options. Even more, look into delivery services – such as grocery delivery – to reduce the need for running errands.

Review Finances

While mom or dad can still express his or her wishes, you should review financial information together. Help set up a budget, review expenses, and get investments in order. You should also talk about his or her power of attorney and will. If you need help, this is a great time to talk with a financial planner to get finances in order.

Prepare for an Emergency

If your parent experiences an emergency at home, you want him or her to have easy access to help. You might look into medical alert systems for 24/7 monitoring. Also, make emergency phone numbers easy to find by placing a list in every room. Convenient places may include a side table, his or her nightstand, and the refrigerator door.

Overall, be sure you have a plan to care for your loved one in the long term. Review these Alzheimer’s warning signs. Then, talk with mom and dad about the best place to live when living at home is no longer safe. Walnut Place is here to help you find the right memory care for your parent.