Creating a home environment that is safe and supportive for a family member suffering from dementia can feel like an overwhelming task. However, with the help of a home care expert and by following a few guidelines, it is possible to provide a home environment that is loving, safe, and enriching.
Safety at Home
Install locks on doors and windows and keep them locked to discourage wandering. It may be necessary to put a new lock on the front or back door, especially if your loved one is familiar with the old locks, even a deadbolt at the top or bottom of the door can discourage wandering.
If your loved one is prone to wandering, make sure they wear identification or a medical bracelet. It is a good idea to write your name and phone number on the undershirts your loved one wears or get printable, iron on patches at a craft store and create labels that can be ironed on to the outside of pockets, like a patch.
If possible, create a soothing outdoor space that is secure, where your loved one can safely relax. A fenced side or back yard with a sturdy lock on the gate will give your loved one an opportunity to be outside and you will have the peace of mind of knowing they are in a safe environment.
Remove clutter and items that are easy to trip over, like area rugs. Lock away dangerous items like medications and weapons, and consider putting an automatic shut off switch on the stove to prevent accidental burns. Remove the locks from bathroom and bedroom doors so your loved one cannot accidentally lock their self in. Keep the home well lit and do not move the furniture around.
Pay close attention to your loved one to see if there are times of the day during which they appear less confused and are more cooperative. Use those times to complete more challenging tasks and daily activities. A dementia patient’s “clear” moments or hours may change from day to day, so try to keep the routine flexible enough to take advantage of those times when they do occur.
See if your home health aide can practice a technique called graded assistance with your loved one. This means the caregiver provides the least amount of assistance necessary for daily tasks such as dressing, grooming, and meal preparation. The assistance ranges from verbal instructions or prompts on how to do a task, all the way to full assistance with the task. Graded assistance is a good way for dementia sufferers to maintain a sense of independence.
Exercise and Errands
Daily exercise is good for everyone, including those who suffer from dementia. Not only will exercise help to maintain physical health, but it can help your loved one sleep better at night. Try to participate in the type of exercise your loved one enjoys but let them be as independent as possible, without endangering themselves. Exercise does not have to be limited to your home, consider walking in a familiar park or mall.
When it comes time for errands such as doctors’ appointments, try to go when your loved one is likely to be the most lucid. Speak positively about the errand or appointment and if possible, take the home care aide along so they can be part of the discussion with the physician.
About Guided Living Senior Home Care
Guided Living offers home health care services serving Plymouth, MA and the surrounding areas. Our mission is to assist our clients with improving quality of life, encouraging independence within their home and providing first-class care with respect, dignity, compassion and the highest ethical standards.
We have incorporated great technology into the company like our FamilyCARES portal that gives families a real time look into their loved one’s care. One of our goals is to build trust and show accountability to clients and their families through transparency.
We take care management seriously and each client has a dedicated Registered Nurse Care Manager that will supervise caregivers, perform regular in-home checks, and most importantly be available for clients and families to help navigate through tough questions and uncertainties during difficult times.
To speak with a Registered Nurse Care Manager to learn more about our services call 508-927-1213 any time.