March 29, 2019
Many seniors want to live at home and remain as independent as possible. However, if mom or dad has dementia, you may worry about the risks.
Memory loss may add extra concerns for your parent’s safety. But, with the right precautions, you can reduce potential hazards. Start by reviewing these eight common risks and find out steps you can take to keep your loved one safe.
Falls remain a big concern for all seniors. For those with dementia, balance troubles or the tendency to misjudge surroundings may contribute to falls. Therefore, take a walk around your loved one’s home with falls in mind. Remove any tripping hazards and install safety features – especially in the bathroom – to reduce the chances of a fall.
The kitchen poses many risks for someone with dementia. Your parent may forget to turn off appliances – such as the stove. That’s why it’s smart to install a stove that includes safeguards like automatic shut off. You’ll also want to store kitchen knives and other sharp kitchen tools where they aren’t easy to reach.
Your parent may forget when he or she has taken medicine or get confused and take the wrong thing. Make sure all medications – including prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines – are in a locked cabinet. Keep a log in the cabinet so that the person who gives mom or dad medicine can check off each dose.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia can affect the senses in many ways. This includes reducing your loved one’s sensitivity to temperatures. To prevent hot water from accidentally scalding your parent, be sure the water heater is set to 120 Fahrenheit. Also, check that every faucet has clear labels for hot and cold.
There may be times when your parent confuses you or another loved one with an intruder. Prevent an accident by removing or locking up anything that might be used as a weapon. Items of concern include guns and knives but also things like power tools or gardening tools.
As mom or dad’s condition progresses, it may cause confusion in regard to traffic signals or directions. Start the conversation early about safety and when it’s time to stop driving. You can ease the transition by making a plan for alternative transportation. Even more, look into delivery services as a way to tackle common errands without needing to leave the house.
If you’re worried about your parent in an emergency, consider a medical alert system for peace of mind. You should also make sure important emergency phone numbers are easy to find. Place a list of numbers in every room in the house – on the nightstand, on the fridge, and on side tables.
Dementia poses risks to your loved one’s finances. Mom or dad will need assistance with budgeting, tracking expenses, and managing accounts. While he or she can still help, talk through investments, wills, power of attorney, and other financial concerns. If you need guidance, offer to set up a meeting with a financial planner for professional help.
Overall, be sure you have a plan to care for your loved one in the long term. Review these Alzheimer’s warning signs. Then, talk with mom and dad about the best place to live when living at home is no longer safe. Monticello West is here to help you find the right memory care for your parents.