Alzheimer's is a difficult disease to deal with—both for the person it affects and for the entire family. While it may be tempting to take on all the caregiver duties on your own, you may quickly find yourself feeling helpless and overwhelmed. If that’s the case, you’re not alone.
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, so it is important to take small steps as you seek care for your loved one. With proper support, your loved one can remain comforted and loved, although they may often be confused. Here are some of the warning signs of Alzheimer's and how you can make your home a safer environment to live in, as well as lessen the potential of bringing on a sense of confusion.
Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s:
- Memory loss affecting day-to-day abilities
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation in time and space
- Impaired judgement
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood and behaviour
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
Safety-Proofing Your Home for Alzheimer’s Care
When it comes to safety, focus on preventative action instead of retraining or teaching. Always treat the person with respect and maintain an adult approach during communication.
Inside the Home:
- Lock away dangerous substances such as medications and cleaning products
- Keep a clean refrigerator
- Keep knives, sink stoppers, and small appliances out of sight
- Lower hot water temperature to avoid burns
- Have a kettle that shuts off automatically
- Remove knobs or fuses from the stove
The Physical Environment:
- “Camouflage” doors or mirrors with curtains, screens, or other decorative items to minimize “exit-seeking”
- Keep furniture in the same place to allow for easy movement through the room
- Make use of colour contrast between items, for example between handrails and walls
- Tack down all corners of rugs and skid-proof smaller rugs
- Have floors and stairs well-lit and free from clutter
- Have gates at the top of stairs to help prevent falling
- Use signs to help the person locate where they are or which direction to take to important rooms
- Fill ashtrays will small amount of water to put out fires or soothe burns
- Have a thermostat lock installed
Outside the Home:
- Plant hedges around the patio and install a fence around rest of garden
- Lock gates
- Put garden tools away immediately after use
- Use brightly coloured paint to define any steps
- Disable the car
- Inform neighbours of your family member's condition
Senior Care for Alzheimer’s Patients
When the care for your loved one with Alzheimer's becomes too much for you to handle, you can seek an agency that provides skilled and experienced personal support workers. It is important to seek support from a PSW shortly after your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, so that they can have some time to bond with him or her.
There are a variety of care options for people with Alzheimer’s, and you can decide which option works best for your loved one. If a PSW is not what you’re looking for, there are many assisted living communities that provide the care and support your loved one needs.
For added peace of mind, you can also register your loved one with the Alzheimer Society’s MedicAlert® Safely Home®.
How Assisted Living Can Help Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s
Finding an assisted living or memory care community that meets the needs and wants of your loved one with Alzheimer’s is a big decision. At TheCareGuide.com you will find ideas for assisted senior living in British Columbia and the rest of Canada, as well as valuable information and check lists to take with you as you shop around. Our guide has helped many families find the best living and housing options in their area and has offered valuable advice on how they can successfully make the transition into a senior living arrangement. More information and advice on senior care and living solutions can be found by contacting us at 1-800-311-CARE or at email@example.com for additional help.