Home Safety Tips for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregiversBy Child Safety Specialist Nov 1 , 2010 | 11:30:00 amPosted in: Personal Safety
Some things are easier to blog about than others. Alzheimer’s disease is definitely not an easy one for me. Currently there are 5 million Americans who suffer from this horrific disease, and my dad is one of them. Throughout my life I’ve had to become knowledgeable on a number of topics I’d never imagined I would have to – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, children with special needs, real-estate, divorce and now Alzheimer’s. The problem with Alzheimer’s is that, while there are numerous articles, there are still very few answers. Time Magazine just ran a cover story on potential new treatments and the frustration many American’s feel that so few resources are being put towards finding a cure.
I’m certainly one of those who is frustrated and yes, scared, for what the near future holds for my mom as she is caring for my dad. My inability to take this burden off of her bothers me tremendously. I have no idea how to plan for the inevitable decline my dad will face but, what I have been able to do, is research various ways to make his life a little easier and safer:
Safeguard dangerous areas in the home – Disorientation and balance problems are two early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Be sure that non-slip bath mats and grab bars are installed in the bathroom. Staircases both indoors and outdoors should have good treads and be well-lit. Remove throw rugs and other items that could pose a tripping hazard.
Secure and monitor all medications – If the Alzheimer’s patient is still living independently, it’s critical to have some way of monitoring their medication, both from an overdose standpoint as well as forgetting to take the medication. Create a labeling system and a note that can be hung near the medicine cabinet clearly illustrating dosage and frequency. Through the use of the ADT Pulse System, a motion sensor can be placed on a cabinet that only holds medicine. When the cabinet is opened – or not opened – a caregiver can receive a text alert.
Consider a personal GPS device – Alzheimer’s patients tend to wander. Even in the early stages they can potentially forget where they are or where they’re going. A personal GPS device that the Alzheimer’s patient can keep in his or her pocket or purse will certainly give the caregiver some peace of mind. Also, install sensors on all doorways that will sound an alarm if the Alzheimer’s patient walks out the door.
The one thing I have come to understand from even my limited experience with Alzheimer’s thus far ,is that caregivers desperately need support. This is a disease that affects the entire family. For additional information, check out the Alzheimer’s Association website at www.alz.org
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