The day-to-day challenges of providing care for a senior with dementia are constantly evolving. Today, the difficulty could be frustration with the lack of ability to communicate effectively. Next week, it may be wandering and seeking to go “home.” There can be sleepless nights if sundowning is a factor, or aggressive words and actions which come from seemingly nowhere.
Through it all, safety for dementia patients is vital, and that begins with making sure that the home environment is modified appropriately. A good first step would be to take a quick walk-through evaluation of your home to look for issues such as tripping hazards (loose throw rugs, cords, clutter, etc.), insufficient lighting, or the dangerous storage of hazardous items (cleaning products, knives, etc.).
Then, put into action any or all of these ideas from our experts in home care services in Columbia and the surrounding area:
- Use labels. Labeling frequently-used items, either with words or pictures, can help jog the senior’s memory and increase independence. Place labels on the cabinets and refrigerator to designate what’s inside, in the bathroom with simple details for the morning routine, and on the senior’s dresser drawers and closets.
- Contrast colors, but reduce busy patterns. Using contrasting colors such as a white plate on a burgundy placemat helps reduce visual confusion. In addition, keep in mind that bright patterns may cause overstimulation, or increase hallucinations and delusions; for instance, the senior may envision insects moving across a busy pattern on the bedspread or rug.
- Pay attention to doorways. Keep any doors properly locked that could lead to harm for the older adult, such as the door to the basement or garage, and also the front/back entryway doors. But leave other doors in the home open, so that the older adult can more easily navigate through the rest of the house.
- Place photos purposefully around the house. Pictures of family members and happy memories that you can point out and talk about together can help the senior see the home as a positive environment, and also act as a distraction when needed from challenging behaviors or moods.
- Keep commonly-used items easily accessible. The TV remote, cups as well as other utensils, a favorite pillow or blanket – anything the older adult would like to have on hand often – should be left somewhere front and center for the person to spot easily, or, stored in a labeled location to lessen frustration.
- Install an elevated toilet seat, non-slip mats, and grab bars. In the event that you do not already have these safety items in place in the bathroom, now is the perfect time to lower the danger of falls.
If you’re looking for trusted senior care, Home With You Senior Care’s knowledgeable care professionals are available to perform a walk-through of your home as well and make additional recommendations to increase comfort and safety for someone with dementia. Reach out to us online or give us a call us at 410-756-0959 to learn more about our top-rated home care services in Columbia and the surrounding communities.