The daily dilemmas of providing care for a senior loved one with dementia are constantly changing. Today, the difficulty could be frustration due to the lack of ability to communicate effectively. Next week, it may be wandering and attempting to go “home.” There can be sleepless nights if sundowning is a factor, or aggressive actions and words which come from seemingly nowhere.
Through all of it, safety is paramount, and therefore begins with being sure that the home atmosphere is favorable to the distinct needs of an individual with dementia. A very good first step is to take a quick walk-through evaluation of your home to discover issues such as tripping hazards (cords, clutter, loose throw rugs, etc.), inadequate lighting, or the unsafe storage of hazardous items (cleaning products, knives, etc.).
Then, put into action any or all of these aging in place modifications from our experts in home care assistance in Kansas City the surrounding area:
- Use labels. Labeling widely-used items, either with words or pictures, will help jog the person’s memory and increase independence. Affix labels on the cabinets and refrigerator to designate what is inside, in the bathroom with basic details for the morning routine, as well as on the senior’s closets and dresser drawers.
- Contrast colors, but reduce very busy patterns. Using contrasting colors like a white plate on a dark blue placemat assists in easing visual confusion. In addition, be aware that bright patterns can lead to overstimulation, or increase hallucinations and delusions, as the older adult may, for instance, envision bugs moving across a busy pattern on the bedspread or rug.
- Pay attention to doorways. Keep any doors safely locked that may lead to harm for the older adult, such as the door into the basement or garage, and also the front/back entryway doors. But leave other doors inside the house open, so that the senior loved one can easily navigate through the home.
- Place photos purposefully around the house. Pictures of family members and happy memories that you can point out and talk about together often helps the individual see the home as a positive environment, and can function as a distraction when needed from challenging behaviors or moods.
- Keep commonly-used items easy to access. The television remote, cups as well as other utensils, a well-liked blanket or pillow – anything the senior would like to have on hand often – should be left somewhere front and center for the person to spot easily, or, kept in a labeled location to minimize frustration.
- Install an elevated toilet seat, non-slip mats, and grab bars. If you don’t already have these safety items in place in the bathroom, now is a great time to reduce the danger of falls.
As one of the most trusted home health agencies in Kansas City, KS, Hearts at Home In-Home Care’s knowledgeable care professionals are available to perform a walk-through of your home as well and make additional recommendations to maximize safety and comfort for someone with dementia. Reach out to us via our online contact form, or give us a call at 913-440-4209 for more information about our expert home care services and the full area we serve.