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In-Home Dangers of those Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Forms of Dementia

People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia experience a gradual yet steady decline in cognitive ability, as it pertains to social awareness, memory, safety and understanding of everyday concepts. Unfortunately, individuals who develop Alzheimer’s and Dementia are at a much higher risk of falling victim to certain dangers around the home – dangers that pose minimal threats to those without the disease. Listed below are some of these threats, and steps that caregivers can take to minimize risk, and increase in-home safety.

 

Falling:
Deteriorating balance is a consequence of getting older, however those with Alzheimer’s are particularly vulnerable to falls that can lead to serious injury. Common hazards that can lead to falls include – bathrooms without grab bars, poor lighting, loose rugs, cluttered rooms and hallways, stairways without hand rails and so on. Thankfully, removing these hazards is relatively simple. Caregivers are encouraged to make a detailed inspection of the household to identify and remedy any of these or other falling hazards.

 

Kitchen Hazards:
The kitchen is perhaps the most dangerous room in the house for those living with Alzheimer’s. There are knives and other sharp utensils that can cause harm, not to mention the stove, microwave and other such appliances that can lead to burns. People experiencing memory loss can easily forget to turn off the stove, increasing the risk of fire. Keeping your loved one safe in the kitchen is a task that caregivers and family members need to take seriously.

 

Consider appliances that have an auto shut-off feature, and reset the hot water tank to a safe temperature to prevent burning.  Store all sharp utensils in areas that can be locked or are not easily accessible. Unhealthy or medically restricted foods and caustic cleaning supplies should be removed as should easily dropped or broken glassware.

 

Becoming Lost:
Those with Alzheimer’s can easily become confused about their whereabouts. Consequently, they may attempt to leave home and become lost, putting themselves in danger. That’s why it is important for caregivers to ensure that doors remain locked at all times – particularly at nighttime when others are asleep. The Alzheimer’s Association suggested putting locks up high on the door, out of reach.

 

Medications:

To help ensure that medications are taken safely, place all medications in a locked drawer or cabinet.
Use a pill box organizer or keep a daily list and check off each medication as it is taken.

 

Be Prepared for Emergencies:
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers for local police and fire departments, hospitals and poison control helplines. Have working fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

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