If your loved one who suffers from memory loss is visiting you from his or her long-term care facility, it’s important to ensure that your home doesn’t present any challenges for him or her and creates a dementia friendly environment. It’s good to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of memory loss to make certain that you take every possible situation into consideration as you prepare your home. In addition to keeping him or her safe, it’s essential that you’re able to cater to your loved one’s needs especially maintaining a dementia friendly environment.
To start, it could be beneficial to speak to the caregiver at your loved one’s facility and ask what he or she does every day, for there may be a specific food or activity that your loved one enjoys. It would be nice to prepare for this so that you can surprise your loved one during the visit.
Make sure you’ve taken each of these steps to create a positive, safe atmosphere for your loved one.
Step into his or her shoes
The Alzheimer’s Association suggested that you closely assess your home, looking at each room and its objects through the eyes of someone with dementia. Look at the decorations on your tables and countertops and ask yourself if this could be potentially harmful to someone with the condition. Could your loved one easily get outside through a sliding door or the garage? If so, lock the doors that lead to these exits to prevent him or her from getting lost.
It’s always good to be on your toes and make sure that all of your safety devices are working properly, such as the fire extinguisher and the smoke detector. Preparing for the worst is the best approach in this situation, ensuring that if an emergency were to arise, you’re prepared with a list of emergency phone numbers, such as the number to your loved one’s care facility in case any urgent questions need to be asked, and even to help lines like poison control.
Establish danger zones for Dementia friendly environments
After you rid your home of clutter that could cause your loved one to trip, close off all of the areas that could put him or her in a dangerous situation. For example, cabinets with medications or alcohol should be locked with childproof locks. You can also disguise hazardous areas or cabinets by covering entryways or doors with cloth, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. To encourage a safe physical environment for dementia patients, store all of the dangerous objects in this danger zone during the visit, such as knives, scissors or lighters.
Accommodating a safe environment for our Dementia patients
Just as keeping the house safe is important, so is equipping it with the tools and materials to make your loved one’s stay a positive experience. According to New LifeStyles, including a shower seat and grab bars will make moving easier when it comes time to bathe. Night lights in your loved one’s room and the hallways can prevent serious accidents and make him or her feel safe in a well-lit environment. It’s also a good idea to keep the refrigerator stocked with prepared food, such as sandwiches and cut-up fruits or vegetables so your loved one never has to use a knife or use the stove or oven.
If your house has hardwood flooring and tends to get a little slippery, you can add textured stickers to your floor. If necessary, you can also do some labeling to avoid confusion. For example, tape a picture or word on your utensil drawers to give your loved one a visual of what’s inside for added convenience. Since dementia patients are easily confused and distracted, the simpler things are in the home, the easier things will be to interpret, causing fewer distractions.
At Elmcroft, we have senior living communities that make your loved one the main focus while maintaining a safe environment for our dementia patients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.