Creating a Safe Living Environment for People with Alzheimer’s Disease
In 1994, former President Ronald Reagan shared the news that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease with the words “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.” Ironically, he had been the one to initiate the first National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month eleven years previously. Today, Alzheimer’s And Brain Awareness Month is observed every June to support the millions of people worldwide who are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It is also a time to recognize the caregivers who keep their loved ones comfortable and safe at home through all stages of the disease. An essential component of this care is creating a dementia-friendly home environment that balances comfort, safety and independence. Continue reading to learn more about how bedrooms and bathrooms can be adapted to meet the needs of both dementia patients and their caregivers.
Bedroom safety suggestions
Night time can be one of the hardest periods for people with dementia because they often become increasingly confused and disoriented in the late afternoon and evening. Their distress and agitation can last through the night, so the bedroom should be a safe, comfortable place for them to retreat to. For example, some people with dementia become afraid of the dark, so adequate lighting is essential. Light fixtures that provide a soft warm glow may help them fall asleep more easily. A full bladder can also make it difficult for people with dementia to rest comfortably during the night. Incontinence is common as Alzheimer’s disease progresses, but they may still try to get up and go to the bathroom. An electric high-low bed is an ideal solution for people who could be injured if they get out of bed without help. The bed frame can be lowered to just a few inches above the floor to prevent falls and serious injuries. A waterproof mattress cover also ensures quick and easy cleanup after any type of bedwetting accident.
Staying safe in the bathroom
The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house for people with dementia, but home modifications can greatly reduce the risk of falls. A good starting point is to install grab bars on the bathroom walls near the toilet and inside the bathtub or shower. They must be anchored into wall studs and sturdy enough to support a person’s full weight. A grab rail can also be mounted directly onto the wall of the bathtub. A clamping mechanism with rubber pads keeps it in place without scratching the tub surface. Additionally, a shower chair with a back and armrests should be placed inside the tub or shower stall to make the bathing process easier and safer. Be sure to pick one with non-slip rubber feet that will sit securely in the bathtub or shower stall. Finally, a handheld shower head makes it easier for caregivers to stay dry when assisting with bathing.
Alzheimer’s disease presents many challenges that can negatively impact quality of life and independence. It is a constant challenge for patients and caregivers but creating a dementia-friendly home environment can reduce the risk of serious injury as the disease progresses. Trying to find just the right bed, grab bars, or shower chair can be a challenge though, so HomeCare Hospital Beds team of experts is ready to help! For more information, call us today at 877-414-0002 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having a severe and sudden change in physical or mental health, please call 911, contact a local emergency facility or consult with your doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider, and never disregard the advice given because of information you have received from our website.**