Dementia affects each person differently, but one of the most common symptoms is reduced mobility and co-ordination. As a result, sufferers are at an even higher risk of suffering falls or sustaining injuries around the home.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to lower this risk and make their home a much safer place, potentially allowing them to remain independent longer. Here are our top tips.
- Install hand rails in the shower, bath and beside the toilet.
- Consider a shower seat to prevent your loved one having to bend over.
- If possible, encourage the use of a hand-held showerhead so they can bring the water flow to them.
- Install nonslip mats in the bath and shower.
- Adjust the thermostat to limit hot water to a certain temperature to avoid burns (this goes for the kitchen, too).
- Install nightlights in the hallway leading to the bathroom and near the toilet and sink.
- Check all appliances are in safe working order. Ensure whitegoods are serviced regularly.
- Check the smoke/fire alarm is working and replace batteries when required.
- Only use automatic switch-off kettles to ensure it doesn’t boil dry.
- Keep all cutlery, crockery and other everyday kitchen items at a reachable level.
- Put signs on cupboards to remind your loved one where items belong and group similar items together.
- Avoid using electric blankets and hot water bottles, which can be safety hazards.
- Install nightlights to help your loved one navigate their way around the room.
- Keep a phone next to their bed along with a list of easy-to-read emergency contacts. in the event of an emergency.
- If getting out of bed is an issue, consider installing bed support rails or a mattress elevator.
- Keep a simple, easy-to-read, backlit clock beside their bed.
Around the house
- Arrange furniture to minimise risk of falls (i.e. avoid placing any items in the middle of a room).
- Remove any loose rugs, mats or other tripping hazards that could put your loved one at risk of a fall.
- Keep all electrical cables tucked away.
- Replace potentially dangerous forms of heating (e.g. bar radiators) with safer options like column heaters.
- Keep paths clear of any overgrowth or debris.
- Install simple-to-use locks on any gates.
Tell us in the comments below, are you a carer for someone with dementia? How do you make their home a safe environment?