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Adapting to life with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge for everyone
— not only the Alzheimer’s patient but also their caregivers and loved ones. One of the biggest things to consider is how to make your home safer for the person. You want to find a balance where they are able to remain as independent and happy as possible while also staying safe. These home repair projects and simple changes are geared to do just that.
For someone who is aging, especially someone with Alzheimer’s, home is where injuries are most likely to happen
Because it’s where you spend the most time. If this is a new diagnosis, don’t wait until the condition worsens to make modifications. The New York Times recommends making any changes in the early stages so that the person can start getting used to the differences.
Some of these changes are as simple as moving things around,
While others may involve more complicated home modifications. If you need help paying for these modifications, it’s important to know what options are available. You may be eligible to sell an insurance policy, also known as a life settlement. This can be a good option because selling a life insurance policy can provide funds needed for medical expenses or assistance with daily living.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, it’s common for the person to experience confusion, disorientation, and difficulty remembering what is safe and what could be harmful.
These are some of the biggest concerns throughout your home:
- Burns – Go through your home and make a list of anything that could cause burns. In the kitchen, install safety locks on oven doors, stove knobs, and dishwashers. Set your hot water heater to a maximum temperature that won’t scald when taps are turned high. If you have any metal pipes or radiators, cover them with insulating material. If you have a gas fireplace, install a locking mechanism so it can’t be turned on, and use a fire screen.
- Hazardous materials – Keep any materials that would be hazardous if consumed, including medicine and cleaning supplies, stored in cabinets that are out of reach and protected with locks.
- Falling – As Alzheimer’s progresses, the risk of falling becomes greater. To reduce this risk, remove throw rugs, cords that are on the floor, and anything else that is a trip hazard. Install a handrail on all staircases to prevent tripping or falling downstairs. Bathrooms can be especially dangerous because water increases the falling risk. You may want to install a walk-in shower and grab bars to make getting around safer.
- Confusion and frustration – Feelings of confusion are an unfortunate reality of Alzheimer’s, but you can change a few things in your home to reduce it. Make sure your home has plenty of light, especially lighting that feels natural. This can reduce confusion that comes from the sun setting in the evening, and good lighting reduces falls as well. Another great tip for reducing confusion that comes from Love My DIY Home is to create contrast so that it’s easier for the person to find necessary items. For example, they suggest painting the walls in the bathroom a dark tone that makes the white toilet stand out.
- Wandering – As much as you work to make your home safe, Alzheimer’s patients are always at risk of wandering, which presents much greater dangers. You can install special covers on door handles that make them harder to open and locks that are higher up, out of the person’s line of sight. Alarms for doors and windows are also helpful in case they are opened. It also helps to have a fence installed in case your loved one does get outside while wandering. Go to a website like Angi and search for fence installation near me. You’ll be provided with a list of reputable and licensed services that will get the job done right. While you can expect to pay an average of $4,500 for fence installation, it’s worth getting clear estimates from at least three companies to help you stay budget-conscious.
Safety is, understandably, a top worry for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Fortunately, these home modifications are straightforward and highly effective at keeping your loved one safe. You will both feel much more at ease knowing they can maintain some independence while staying secure.
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