Maintaining a safe home environment for the person with changes in memory or thinking is one of the most important components of aging in place. Here are some tips to help make a safe home environment:
Provide access to emergency services
Ensure that emergency phone numbers are readily accessible and near a telephone that is easy to use. For the person with more substantial memory loss, emergency response systems designed for the person with memory loss may be useful. Having an emergency disaster safety plan for the person with memory loss is a critical piece of home safety.
Ensure medication safety
Keep medications closely monitored and locked. Provide supervision for the person with memory loss in medication administration.
Provide adequate lighting
Sufficient lighting throughout the home is an important factor in reducing falls especially for the person with memory changes.
Clutter can be confusing to a person with memory loss. Keep spaces simple and clean. Walkways should be free of clutter and scatter rugs.
Provide supervision for high risk areas
Provide supervision in areas where there is the potential risk for someone to do harm to themselves such as in the bathroom or kitchen. Appliances and equipment may need to be adapted to help better meet the needs of the person with memory loss to ensure safety.
Ensure that the home is maintained in good repair
A person with memory loss may not recognize a repair hazard in the home. Periodic home inspections from families or friends can be helpful in addressing repair or replacement needs. Having working smoke detectors are an important component of the home inspection.
For more detailed information about home safety, check out the following links:
Prepared by: Valerie Sauda, RN-BC, MS Geriatric Nurse Service Instructor, Rosscare