Safety is often a major concern for caregivers to older adults with dementia. Dementia is a condition that impairs an older adult’s ability to make good judgements and causes confusion that may lead to an injury. Caregivers will need to take steps to keep their aging relatives safe, both inside the house and when they are away.
Below are some ways for caregivers to ensure the safety of their aging relatives with dementia.
Some seniors with dementia develop a challenging behavior known as “wandering.” They might walk around the house aimlessly, which is generally safe, though can be frustrating for caregivers. However, some seniors look for ways to get out of the house and may become lost. In addition, people who are in the early stages of dementia may get lost when they become confused about where they are, even if they are in a familiar place like the grocery store. Using a GPS tracking device can help caregivers to find the older adult quickly if they should become lost or wander away. There are small devices that can be attached to the senior’s clothing or worn like jewelry. The caregiver can connect to them through their smartphone or other device.
Get Rid of Inside Locks
Locks on inside doors can be dangerous if the older adult accidentally locks themselves inside a room and can’t figure out how to unlock the door. Remove locks from all bedrooms and the bathroom to prevent this from happening.
Hide Dangerous Chemicals and Objects
Every house has chemicals and cleaning aids that are dangerous when swallowed. People with dementia may mistake such chemicals for food or beverages and consume them. Put all dangerous chemicals in a locked cabinet and keep the key where the senior cannot find it. Also, move any dangerous objects, like weapons or sharp kitchen knives, to places where the older adult cannot get to them. Dementia can cause them to mistake a caregiver for an intruder and they may use a weapon or knife to hurt them.
Make Safety Changes in the Bathroom
Dementia will eventually cause disability that will make using the bathroom difficult. It can also make falls more likely. To prevent falls in the bathroom, install a shower chair, so the older adult can sit down while bathing. Also, place grab bars near the bathtub or shower and the toilet. They give the senior something to steady themselves on when standing or sitting. Make sure there are non-skid mats or strips in the bathtub or shower to prevent slipping.