Adapting Your Home for an Alzheimer’s Patient

Today we have a guest article from June Duncan, who is a friend of Holistically Devoted Assisted Living (HDAL) and the caregivers community. Enjoy.

It’s a noble thing to welcome the elderly to live in your home, especially if they’re suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They’ll need your love and support now more than ever. However, have you stopped to think about what that entails? You may not have noticed, but there are minor dangers throughout your rooms and hallways that need to be addressed, bearing in mind that the disease has a degenerative effect on perceptions of color and light. Here are some DIY projects you can tackle on the weekends to improve safety.

Open the Layout

This is by far the biggest adjustment you can make, as it involves knocking down walls to create more space to move about, which your new resident will appreciate. It also increases the amount of light and makes rooms appear more spacious. Be sure to contact a professional before engaging any work, as this requires some skill. You can get some idea where to begin by looking at your house’s floor plan. Also, before making any big changes on your own, ensure you’re creating enough space by using a tape measure to get accurate dimensions.

Install Detectors

Having an Alzheimer’s patient in your house raises the risk of fire and carbon-monoxide poisoning, as they may forget to turn off the gas range or oven after use. Get ready for this by installing the appropriate alarms where necessary. For smoke detectors, that’s on every floor as well as in every bedroom, the kitchen, the basement, and near the stairs. For carbon monoxide, it’s every room with a fuel-burning appliance, as well as every bedroom.

Reduce Slippage

While making home modifications for your loved one, you may have to tear up the flooring and opt for slip-resistant surfaces such as carpeting to prevent falls. Also, the RIBA Journal recommends choosing ones without too much shine, dark spots, or busy patterns, as this can confuse those with dementia when they are trying to cross the room. Rubber mats can be placed in the bathroom to provide grip on wet floors.

Contrast Colors

The decrease in perception results in difficulty differentiating between subtle changes in the environment, according to Dementia Care International, which suggests using color contrasts to accentuate features such as doors. You can also place colored strips along steps to help your loved one navigate from one floor to the another. Cool colors such as green are more appropriate than pink or blue, while red gets the nod for being physiologically stimulating.

Improve Lighting

Ambient sources from hanging fixtures, sconces, and recesses are best, as glare can be a major distraction for the elderly in general. Also, try to keep the level consistent throughout the house, avoiding sharp changes from light and shade between rooms. Lamps should be placed on tables and desks for easier reading and other activities like sewing.

Arrange Cables

Cables can be notorious tripping hazards, so it’s best to keep them arranged and away from open spaces to prevent any nasty spills. There are a number of solutions to this problem, including the use of hooks on the walls and cord covers that run along the floor. Be careful not to run any cables under carpets or rugs, as this could start a fire if they overheat. Also, don’t use nails or staples to fix cords to the wall, as this could damage the insulation.

Put in a Handrail

Handrails will make entering and exiting the home much easier, especially in the evenings and early morning when the light is low. It should be easy to grip and made of a sturdy material such as aluminum. You can also install grab rails next to the toilet and bathtub, but be sure to choose a color that contrasts with the wall so they are easily seen.

Now your home will be ready and you can share the good times without worrying too much about accidents. Just remember to conduct regular maintenance to be sure your DIY efforts don’t come undone.

Image via Pixabay

Ensuring a safe living environment for our aging friends and family members is essential to maintaining their health and dignity through their golden years. A word of thanks is due to June Duncan for sharing this useful information with us. June is the primary caregiver to her 85-year-old mother and the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is passionate about helping and supporting other caregivers and is currently writing a book titled, The Complete Guide to Caregiving, due out in Winter 2018. Check out more of June's work at riseupforcaregivers.org.

Respectfully,

The Owners of Holistically Devoted Assisted Living

Holistically Devoted Assisted Living Facility (HDAL) is the premier assisted living provider in Prince George's County, Maryland. At HDAL, we deliver holistic health care to our residents - by meeting all their personal needs while allowing them the dignity of being freethinking and independent adults; and we provide devoted service - by being ever-present as servants in the lives of our residents as we assist them with performing their activities of daily living.

#assistedliving #care #elderly #service

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