Alzheimer’s Care—Focus on Accident Prevention
Your goal in adapting the home for a person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is to keep the surroundings as familiar as possible, while making the changes necessary to create a home that is calming, reassuring, safe, and supportive. This will make it possible for the person with dementia to be as independent as possible.
Creating a safe home environment for a person with Alzheimer’s disease requires changes that would be made for any older person. Also consider any physical or mental disabilities he or she has that are unique to AD and try to plan ahead for future difﬁculties.
The environment should be suitable for the symptoms of the disease—
- Memory loss
- Confusion about where he is
- Confusion about how to get to or ﬁnd a particular room
- Decreased judgment
- Tendency to wander
- Poor impulse control
- Changes in vision, hearing, depth perception
- Sensitivity to changes in temperature
You can’t predict every need that will come along. AD symptoms get worse as time goes on. In the early stage it causes mostly thinking (cognitive) difﬁculties. Eventually it causes physical decline as well. In the late or severe stage, the loss of abilities, such as walking, has a major effect on how much care will be needed. Features of the home, such as steps and narrow bathroom doors, can become major obstacles to providing care.