Dementia and Home Safety

Elder Care in Deerfield IL

The various stages of dementia bring with them mounting safety issues as the disease progresses. In the beginning stage, your loved one may require little assistance or changes in their Elder-Care-in-Deerfield-ILenvironment in order to secure their safety. As the disease progresses, certain steps will need to be taken in order to maintain that same level of safety.

What Changes Make Safety an Issue

  • Loss of short-term memory leads to several safety issues. Your parent may forget how to use their appliances appropriately or forget when the stove is on. They can forget when they took their medication or recent meals.
  • Disorientation can involve their living space. They may confuse cleaning supplies and condiments.
  • Their suspicious or fearful behavior can lead to action that jeopardizes their safety and the safety of those around them.

 

Steps to Take

  • Assess their environment from the perspective of what can be a problem should their memory or judgment fail them.  Any items that could be potentially dangerous need to be locked away. These include tools, knives, guns, cleaning supplies, and chemicals.
  • Balance can become an issue. In order to ensure safety, look for potential environmental concerns such as furniture that is sticking out into pathways or cords that cross regularly used walkways. Throw rugs will need to be eliminated to prevent slipping. Grab bars place in strategic locations are very helpful such as in the shower and by the toilet.
  • Maintain good lighting, being particularly aware of any areas that create shadows during a particular time of day. Shadows can be particularly alarming and confusing to those with dementia. Consider installing sensor lights that turn on with movement. Night lights in the bathroom, bedroom and hallways are also helpful.
  • Appliances such as stoves may need sensors that shut off the oven and burners if no movement is detected in a certain amount of time. As the disease progresses, the stove will need to be set up in a way that the person with dementia is unable to access it or turn it on.
  • Consider any items that could be mistaken for food and discard. Maintain vigilance or lock away those products that could cause problems if consumed in excess. These include medications, supplements, sugar, seasonings, alcohol and tobacco.
  • Due to the suspicious nature that can develop with this disease, guns should be removed from their home. When feeling threatened, those with dementia may feel it is warranted to break into a case with guns. Even if there is no ammunition, the potential exists that someone in their space could believe they are holding a loaded firearm and act accordingly.
  • At a certain stage, your loved one will require additional care. Consider obtaining the services of an elder care provider who has cared for those with this disease and understand the challenges  that they and their caregivers face.

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Deerfield, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.

 

About the author: Jamie Shapiro
Jamie has a Masters in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. She started her career in psychiatric social work at Northwestern University Institute of Psychiatry. Later she went on to be Director of Social Services at Belmont Community Hospital where she developed discharge planning procedures to assist staff in identifying potential patients requiring intervention. Jamie Shapiro is a Google Verified Author.