Safety is important to individuals with Alzheimer’s because of the changes both physically and mentally they go through. Depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s the changes in the brain and body that affect safety vary. Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease and affects things most people take for granted. Things like judgment, senses, behavior, awareness of time and place, along with physical ability. Individuals with Alzheimer’s lose the ability to safely operate household appliances. A person with Alzheimer’s loses balance, becomes confused, and may not recognize their surroundings.
A caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s must ensure the Alzheimer’s patient is in a safe environment, and should take measures to prevent injuries. The environment should help the Alzheimer’s patient feel relaxed and not overwhelmed. It is important for the caregiver survey the environment the Alzheimer’s patients is living and ensure there are not any safety hazards. The most basic household appliance or household object can become dangerous for the Alzheimer’s patient. If the patient is staying in a home environment it is a good idea for the care giver to have appliances that have an auto shut-off feature, to prevent any fire hazards. In addition, medicines should be under lock and key to ensure the patient does not accidentally overdose them.
It is a good idea to ensure the Alzheimer’s patient is supervised if smoking or drinking, and research to ensure the alcohol or tobacco does not have any harmful interactions with their medicine. Most accidents for Alzheimer’s patients occur during Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), eating, bathing, using the bathroom. It is important to ensure the temperature of for a shower or bath does not get extremely hot. Also ensure food is not so hot to burn an Alzheimer’s patient’s mouth or throat. It is always a good idea to make sure hallways are not dark so the patient can walk to the bathroom, especially at night time. Furthermore, a very important safety issue that a caregiver must take every precaution to ensure the patient does not wander and get lost. The caregiver should take precautions like deadbolts on the exterior doors either very high up or very low down. Ensure the patient has plenty of exercise during the day and all needs are met to prevent wandering. The only thing to ensure the Alzheimer’s patient stays save and does not wander and get lost, is constant supervision at all times of the day.
If you are a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient and would like information on caring for the patient you can look at the Alzheimer’s association website at www.alz.org.