August 24, 2009

Safety Issues to Consider for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, which slowly and progressively reduces the patient’s ability to care for her or himself. More and more dependent on caregivers, the patient will not only experience memory loss but also the inability to make sound judgments. What she or he would have previously recognized as a dangerous situations, no longer holds the same value judgment, and very often Alzheimer’s patients have grievous and even life threatening, accidents.

Caregivers are able to avoid many such accidents by observing a number of safety rules and suggestions. The top seven safety issues to consider when dealing with a loved one who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are as follows:

- Please remember that Alzheimer’s patients oftentimes get disoriented. They tend to wander off, oftentimes with a specific location in mind, yet somewhere along the way they either get lost or forget the location for which they are headed. Adding to this the suspicions that sometimes take hold of the patient’s mind, they rarely stop to ask for help. For this reason it is best that you, as the caregiver, are able to monitor the comings and goings of your loved one. For example, this may mean having to relocate deadbolts and door locks out of reach toward the top of the doors. There are also doorknob covers available that will prevent a round doorknob to be turned by someone who does not know how to work the contraption. If your loved one lives on a busy street, this may very well save her or his life.

- Confine hazardous liquids, such as cleaners, paints, or garden chemicals, in one or two locations and keep these cabinets locked. An Alzheimer’s patient may not remember that certain substances are poisonous and may mistakenly ingest some. Again, there are some great products out there for childproofing such areas, and perhaps it may not be a bad idea to do so.

- Avoid accidental poisonings by helping your loved one to take her or his medications. Overmedicating is often a cause for accidental poisonings since the patient will not be able to remember whether or not she or he has already taken the daily dose of the pills prescribed. For the remainder of the time, keep the medications out of reach for your loved one.

- While you want to give your loved one as much as space as possible, you still want to make sure he or she is safe even in your absence. Yet forgotten toaster ovens, irons, or coffee makers may present severe burn hazards. There are automatic shut off devices available for these appliances, and it may be worthwhile to invest in some of them.

- Another important aspect of safety for Alzheimer’s patients is the prevention of falls. Very often this may be accomplished by adding lighting to stairwells, and overall areas of the home that previously were a bit dark. Obviously, you don’t want the light to be glaring, yet some well placed additional lights that help your loved one to safely navigate stairs or the entry way are appropriate. Similarly, you may wish to install some nightlights in the outlets throughout the home to add some light even at night so your loved one will be able to easily find the light switches. ...

Read more: Aging Caregiver and Safety Issues to Consider for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

1 comment:

Hua said...

Hello Alexander,

This is a very informative post, thank you for sharing it with me. I am impressed by your blog on Alzheimer's Disease. I think you should have your voice heard by over 6 million monthly visitors who come to Wellsphere's website to seek information on a variety of health related topics. We would like to raise the awareness of Alzheimer's & Dementia, and connect you and other people who are in similar situations. Through Wellsphere's HealthBlogger Network, you can engage with others to lend a helping hand for one another.
For more information about joining, please visit or email me at hua [at] wellsphere [dot] com.

Hope to hear from you soon!
Director of Blogger Networks