How to secure the home when a relative with dementia lives in it?

 “My home is my fortress” – you remember that ancient quote, don’t you? So true today, when our homes are the only shelters in which we are not afraid of the onset of a global pandemic. However, COVID-19 is the last topic we want to talk about as other diseases beyond it still exist and need our attention in order to overcome them or at least create environment in which they will not hurt us too much.

You will ask what is this environment in which my mother, father, grandmother or anyone close to me, who has dementia will be as safe as possible? We will answer simply – home. Especially the home for the elderly with special care for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. This “preferential” care, although not tendentiously mentioned in Block’s directions, is not only guaranteed, but also the mission of the team of professionals and caregivers who know what lies behind the real need for care, comfort and safety. However, in this article we want to remind you how important it is to be prepared in your home if you share it with someone who suffers from dementia. All the tips we will describe for home security are based on experience and are applied by caregivers around the world, as well as in Blocks Adult Care.

One of the most common safety concerns for people with dementia is that they will leave home and get lost. In our eyes, this is aimless wandering which can lead to confusion and the dementia sufferer failing to return home. However, in their minds there is a reason to be outside – they are looking for something or someone, they. Must be in a specific place or they are afraid and run away from home. We cannot understand what is going on in their head, and they often lose the ability to communicate in order to explain to us. Nevertheless, we must always be prepared for such emergencies in which we have a wandering relative or loved one.

Install alarms and use additional locks

The technology is smart enough to receive alerts or notifications as soon as your adult is about the leave home. There are door alarms, audio and video monitors with which you can monitor what is happening in the apartment or house. Do not take it as wrong or as an attempt to “trample on human rights”, but as a way to calm your mind if you only need to go to the store, for example. Additional door locks or digital locks can also be fitted, with which the room can only be left with a code. Some people also use baby safety accessories, such as contact guards, cabinet locks, corner protectors, and edges.

Make sure your loved one can be identified

Make sure that your relative or loved one always has a document with them that can help with identification if they are lost. Remember that people with dementia can take off their clothes, lose their wallets at any time, or decide for themselves that they don’t need them and throw them away. That is why you need another method to both identify them and verify their medical diagnosis of dementia, for example. You can use a bracelet or a necklace that you are sure your loved one will not take off (because it is an expensive gift from a daughter or son) and fit the necessary information.

Use GPS tracking

If your loved one is using a cell phone, make sure they have a GPS tracking system installed. Access to it will bring you relief if he is out alone for a walk or vice versa – he is lost and you have not been warned that he is going out.

If there is no phone, GPS trackers can now be attached to clothes, keys, wallets – almost everywhere. Advice from the daughter of a Blocks resident is to attach a GPS system to a locket. It is an expensive gift that she gave to her mother and instructed her not to take it off as a sign of love. Always a sure way that your loved ones will not take off a gift from you is to suggest that it symbolizes something important to them.

Pay attention to the exits at home

People with dementia and visual impairments can “enter” glass doors, so put stickers on them. Make sure the paths and steps are safe if you live in a house, especially if it has been raining, snowing and there is ice. Provide adequate lighting. Check a garage or any other room to which you loved ones have access to things such as gasoline, tools or stairs, and block access if they pose a danger to them.

Assess whether driving is safe

Many people drive for some time after being diagnosed with dementia. If your loved ones are still driving, do not forget to monitor their reflexes, their assessment of the road, driving skills. Ask your doctor how good it is for your loved one to continue using the care.

Keep in mind that if you ban your loved ones from driving, they may feel that their independence is threatened. They may fear isolation and perceive it as restriction of their freedom, so consider alternative methods of movement.

Think about the bathroom

Install a shower chair and handles in the necessary places in the bathroom. For example, near a shower or near the toilet, with which your loved one can help himself when he gets up. Also keep in mind slippery surfaces. Get anti-slip bathmats. If you have the opportunity, set the water temperature so that your loved one cannot change it while bathing. Also remove the door locks to prevent accidental locking.

At Blocks Adult Care we think about every detail that would make the daily lives of residents or patients safer. For example, the doors of each room are bisected and allow opening in the middle, depending on the desire and need of the individual patient to be under constant surveillance, but still maintain his privacy. The individual rooms are in different colors to facilitate orientation. In the more advanced phase of dementia, dementia bracelets are used, with which the team can track when the person wearing it leaves the perimeter of the house. At the same time, each bracelet has a built-in button that signals to the home assistant when pressed. Thus, if necessary, assistance can be provided to him in a timely manner.

These tips may seem obvious to you, some of them even absurd, but believe us, f it is good to start somewhere or your own reassurance. Over time, according to the habits of your loved one or relative, you will begin to see more dangers at home. Then you will need better protection of the fortress.

Leave a reply