Home Safety and Dementia

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On July 13, 2012, Posted by , In Dementia,Home Care, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Home Safety and Dementia

If you are caring for an elder with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, no doubt you have wondered if it is safe for you parent to continue living at home. Will Dad wander away from the house? Is Mom growing more confused? Does she recognize you when you come to the door?

The cognitive problems that a person with dementia experiences cause a variety of home safety concerns. This is an ongoing concern for family members, because as the individual’s dementia progresses, so do the needs for care. You should continually evaluate the ability of your parent to live at home safely.

Questions to regularly ask are: 

* Can the elder recognize a dangerous situation, like a fire?
* Does the elder know how to use the telephone for getting help?
* How content is he or she at home?
* Are there signs of agitation, depression or withdrawal?
* Does the elder wander?
* Is his or her confusion increasing?

The more the answers to these questions spell risk, the more you should consider placement in a specialized long-term care facility to reduce the chance of danger.

Safety at Home

When evaluating safety around the home, keep in mind that dementia behaviors are unpredictable. Prevention should be one of your primary concerns. Adapt the home so danger is minimized while still allowing the elder to be as independent as possible. This helps control agitation.

Wandering is a serious risk. As a senior with Alzheimer’s wanders aimlessly, he or she may fail to sense temperature extremes, moving vehicles and other dangers. Not everyone with dementia wanders. It is unpredictable who will wander or when. It is our job as caregivers to put security in place so that a person with dementia may pursue the need to wander, if or when that happens.

When Home Isn’t an Option

At what point is it no longer safe to care for someone with Alzheimer’s at home? You should seriously consider moving the elder to a specialized long-term care facility when he or she requires around-the-clock skilled care for such things as medication management or supervision of vitals or psychiatric conditions like hallucinations, illusions and delusions.

Wandering is another reason to consider moving your parent. When wandering is extreme, the walking paths within the home may be too limiting for the elder, causing extreme agitation. Today, many healthcare facilities are designed to facilitate safe wandering, including looping pathways and security systems that alert the staff of an elder’s whereabouts.

It is possible to successfully care for an elder with dementia at home, as long as the necessary support and supervision are in place. At some point during the disease’s progression, however, the intensity of these requirements exceeds the abilities of most families. One of your most important responsibilities as a caregiver is to identify the point at which your loved one is no longer safe at home.

Source:  http://www.elderoptionsoftexas.com

Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Macomb County or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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