Home Safety Tips
Thursday June 29, 2017
As they say, home is where the heart is (and where we spend a lot of time), so it’s important to keep your home happy and safe. When you care for someone with dementia, there are new things to consider when thinking about the safety of your home. The goal of home safety is to prevent the avoidable disasters, to the best of our ability, and to prepare for the inevitable ones. These are our home safety tips for caregivers.
As always, if this blog sparks any questions or if you would like to talk about your specific situation, give us a call at 901.854.1200 or email our Social Worker, Sheri Wammack, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to answer your questions!
General Home Tips
- Display emergency numbers in a prominent place, such as the refrigerator or taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet. Also, put those numbers in your cell phone contacts. These numbers could include personal emergency contacts, non-emergency numbers for your local police and fire departments, and poison control (1-800-222-1222).
- Have an updated copy of your loved one’s medications (dosage and frequency) and allergies in a place where you can find it quickly. OR have that information listed in the notes on your phone.
- Check your hot water heater settings. The hottest setting needs to bearable to the touch. Your loved one may unintentionally turn the water as hot as it will go and burn his or herself.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to ensure batteries are working. Once a month is recommended.
- If you still have a landline, set your answering machine to begin after the shortest ring setting available, so you can better screen calls and ensure your loved one won’t fall victim to telephone scams.
- Remove all weapons from the house, or have them hidden and locked away. Keep all weapons disarmed.
- Label important rooms and spaces, such as the bathroom. You may want to use pictures or symbols instead of words if your loved one has trouble reading.
- Remove locks on interior doors, so your loved one cannot lock his or herself in a room.
- Get rid of the junk drawer… and the junk in general. Clutter causes confusion. Is it trash or food? Is it scrap paper or an important receipt? No one knows! Keep it simple and clean.
- Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher in working order and know how to use it. Here’s a short video from FEMA if you are unsure of the proper procedure.
- If you have a gas stove, make sure you know where the shut-off valve is located.
- Unplug the microwave (or any appliance of concern) when not in use. This way you can better monitor use the appliance.
- Put knives, other sharp utensils, and any precious/breakable items in cabinets with child-proof locks.
- Keep alcohol hidden or locked away.
- Use a drain trap in the kitchen sink.
- Lock up medications (both prescription and over the counter).
- If your loved one seems confused about the difference between the toilet and the sink, install a brightly colored toilet seat.
- Good lighting is essential in hallways and rooms. Also, consider nighttime lighting. Place nightlights throughout the house, or keep key lights on when it’s dark outside.
- Try to avoid using extension cords, and if you have to use them, make sure they are tucked away out of foot paths.
- Make sure your stairway has a hand rail. And if you have slippery stairs, add something like a clear, adhesive stair tread to add more traction. Putting reflective or brightly-colored tape on the end of each stair might also be useful.
- Use slip resistant wax when finishing floors.
- Remove throw rugs. While rugs are pretty, they are a fall hazard.
- Avoid clutter. The more things there are, the more things there are to trip over!
- If you have a pool, make sure your loved one does not have easy access. A gate will help ensure he or she doesn’t accidentally fall in.
- Remove the fuel sources for grills when not being used.
- Keep power tools locked up and out of sight.
- Keep a spare key outside in a hidden area just in case your loved one locks you out.