Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide (cont.)

Home Safety for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease often have to look at their homes through new eyes to identify and correct safety risks. Creating a safe environment can prevent many stressful and dangerous situations. The ADEAR Center offers the booklet, Home Safety for People with Alzheimer's Disease, which lists many helpful tips. See "For More Information" to contact the ADEAR Center.

  • Install secure locks on all outside windows and doors, especially if the person is prone to wandering. Remove the locks on bathroom doors to prevent the person from accidentally locking himself or herself in.
  • Use childproof latches on kitchen cabinets and anyplace where cleaning supplies or other chemicals are kept.
  • Label medications and keep them locked up. Also make sure knives, lighters and matches, and guns are secured and out of reach.
  • Keep the house free from clutter. Remove scatter rugs and anything else that might contribute to a fall.
  • Make sure lighting is good both inside and outside the home.
  • Be alert to and address kitchen-safety issues, such as the person forgetting to turn off the stove after cooking. Consider installing an automatic shut-off switch on the stove to preventburns or fire.
  • Be sure to secure or put away anything that could cause danger, both inside and outside the home.

Driving: Decisions for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

Making the decision that a person with Alzheimer's is no longer safe to drive is difficult, and it needs to be communicated carefully and sensitively. Even though the person may be upset by the loss of independence, safety must be the priority.

  • Look for clues that safe driving is no longer possible, including getting lost in familiar places, driving too fast or too slow, disregarding traffic signs, or getting angry or confused.
  • Be sensitive to the person's feelings about losing the ability to drive, but be firm in your request that he or she no longer do so. Be consistent—don't allow the person to drive on "good days" but forbid it on "bad days."
  • Ask the doctor to help. The person may view the doctor as an authority and be willing to stop driving. The doctor also can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and request that the person be reevaluated.
  • If necessary, take the car keys. If just having keys is important to the person, substitute a different set of keys.
  • If all else fails, disable the car or move it to a location where the person cannot see it or gain access to it.
  • Ask family or friends to drive the person or find out about services that help people with disabilities get around their community.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2014

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Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with an Alzheimer's disease patient.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Diagnosis Question: Has a friend or relative been diagnosed with Alzheimer's? Please share your story.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Communicating Question: Please share tips for communicating with a relative or friend who has Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Eating Question: Getting an Alzheimer's patient to eat can be difficult. Please share tips for meal ideas and routines.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Activities Question: In what ways do you help your friend or loved one with Alzheimer's stay active and engaged?
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Sleeping Question: Do you deal with a restless Alzheimer's patient? How do you make sure he/she gets sleep at night?
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Wandering Question: Alzheimer's patients tend to wander. What steps have you taken to ensure his/her safety?
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Nursing Homes Question: At some point an Alzheimer's patient will need assisted or residential care. How did you select one?

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