Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

Home safety is an important concern for every household, but it is especially critical if you are living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

While some of the behaviors associated with dementia can be managed medically, for many it is more effective to change the person’s surroundings than to try to change behaviors.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging, has provided some helpful tips to make help caregivers make their homes safer for their loved ones with dementia.

One area to address is making sure you have basic safety devices in place and regularly check the batteries on devices like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Emergency numbers should also be displayed prominently near every phone, while safety knobs on the stove and childproof plugs for unused electrical outlets can help prevent emergencies.

Caregivers should also make sure that all medicines, alcohol, cleaning products or other potentially dangerous items are locked up, removed or secured safely.

People with Alzheimer`s disease may not see, smell, touch, hear or taste things as they used to. Make life safer around the house by:

 Checking foods in the refrigerator often. Throw out anything that has gone bad.
 Put away or lock up things like toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, rubbing alcohol, soap, or perfume. They may look and smell like food to a person with Alzheimer’s.
 If the person wears a hearing aid, check the batteries and settings often.

You should also make sure it is easy to get around the house. Get rid of clutter and small rugs that your loved one could trip on, make sure all rooms lighted adequately, and consider making some safety modifications such as installing grab bars in the shower.

For more information on making a home safer for someone with dementia, check out the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Home Safety.” (pdf)

The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center also has an in-depth guidebook, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease that covers many more topics to help caregivers.

BayPath Elder Services, Inc. and its Caregiving MetroWest program also provide a FREE, six-session workshop specifically for people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The Savvy Caregiver program will help you:

– Understand the impact of dementia on both you and the person you are caring for;
– Learn the skills you need to manage daily life;
– Take control and set goals;
– Communicate more effectively;
– Strengthen family resources;
– Feel better about your caregiving; and
– Take care of you.

The next offering of the Savvy Caregiver program will be on Tuesdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. beginning on July 11 and running weekly until August 15 at the Southborough Senior Center (9 Cordaville Road, Southborough, MA).

The workshop will be facilitated by certified instructors Alicia Rego, the BayPath Elder Services Caregiver Specialist, and Douglas Flynn, the Caregiving MetroWest Program Manager.

There is no cost to participate, but registration is required and you must be currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. For more information or to register, call Southborough Senior Center Program Coordinator Peg Leonard or Outreach Coordinator Cynthia Beard at 508-229-4453.

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