When children live many miles away from their parents caring for them is impossible without help. Home care is essential in these circumstances because it allows a parent to stay at home with the supervision that they need when their family lives far away or just need a few hours for errands.
Whether you are hundreds of miles away or just going to work, leaving a parent home alone who has dementia can be a very scary ordeal. Will they wonder? Will they hurt themselves? Is the house on fire? What is going to happen?
What You Will Learn
When a family can not keep a parent with dementia safe at home, having an aid come in is the likely choice for most people. If you are going to keep a parent with dementia safe, there are some tips to be able to provide your parent with the safest home possible.
These tips do not replace the work of an aide but can make life easier and help prevent unnecessary difficulties or injuries. So let’s jump right into it!
Keep A Parent with Dementia Safe at Home
- Remove any furniture that is not needed, so wheelchairs and walkers can be used.
- Once the person in your care has gotten used to where the furniture is, do not change it.
- Make sure furniture does not move when used to leaned on.
- Add cushioning to sharp corners on different areas in the house
- Keep a telephone and flashlight where they are available.
- Keep dangerous equipment in an area where they are not accessible to the person with dementia.
- Remove clutter.
- Remove scatter rugs, which can cause trips and falls.
- Place protective screens in front of fireplaces.
- Have a handyman install railings and grab bars in different areas in the house where seniors will need help with stability, and getting up and down.
- If the person with dementia is incontinent, use fabric pads that blend with the upholstery. These are available in many colors and are machine washable. These may not cause the embarrassment that regular pads can.
- Make chair seats 20″ high. (Wood blocks or a wooden platform can be placed under large, heavy furniture to raise it to this level.)
- Stick painters tape on windows, and window sliders so it is known when a door is opened or closed.
- Use automatic night-lights in the rooms used by the person
- Have very clear fire-escape routes.
- Provide fire alarms in every room of the house, and especially right outside bedroom doors.
- Place a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and other areas where one may be needed (fireplace).
- Place non-skid tape on the edges of stairs (and consider painting the edge of the first and last step a different color from the floor to help with depth perception).
- It is easier to walk on thin-pile carpet than on thick pile. Avoid busy patterns.
- Be sure stairs have even surfaces with no metal strips or rubber mats to cause tripping.
- Remove all hazards that might lead to tripping.
- Adjust or remove rapidly closing doors.
- For seniors who wander, you can create a safe path in the home for a “wander loop.”
- Use reflector tape to create a path to follow from the bedroom to the bathroom at night.
- Cover radiators with radiator guards.
- Remove knobs off of stoves to prevent fires.
- Use child-proof plugs in all electrical outlets.
- Lock the cellar and garage doors; hide the garage remote control.
- Lock liquor cabinets.
- Remove or lock up all poisonous household items. Colorful cleaning products may be mistaken for food.
- Remove all sharp items.
- Install safety latches/locks on the doors and fenced/ gated exteriors. Install alarms on the doors.
- Rid the home of firearms or store them in a locked cabinet, with the bullets in a separate locked cabinet.
- Cover smooth or shiny surfaces to reduce glare, which upsets or confuses the person with Alzheimer’s.
- Eliminate shadows by creating a uniform level of light with uplights that reflect off the ceiling.
- Cover or remove mirrors if they are upsetting to the person with dementia, who may not recognize himself.
- Store car keys in a locked container; ask a mechanic to disable the car so you can still use it but the person with dementia cannot.
- Prevent falls by making sure all rooms have a lamp connected to a light switch, so there is no need to enter a dark room to turn on a light.
- Have contrasting colors in the bathroom. Dementia patients can miss the toilet because the colors blend into one.
Wrapping It Up
Long distance elder care is not just for those trying to keep a parent with dementia safe, but for any seniors whose families are too far away to take care of them. Home care can come in for as many hours a day as needed.
Additionally, it can assist them with anything from companionship, home helper care (laundry, light housekeeping, meal preparation, chores), personal services, and supervision. You can see your parent when you can, but have the peace of mind knowing that your loved one is well cared for while you care not home.