What are some safety precautions I need to take around my home now that my mother who has Alzheimer’s is living with me?

Your mother’s abilities and capabilities will change as the disease progresses, and it is good that you are thinking about providing safety measures for her while she is in your care.

Following are some tips and strategies to assist you in dealing with these changes and keeping your mom comfortable and secure.

First of all, is your mom capable of staying alone in your home while you are out? Caregivers always struggle between giving their loved ones this freedom and worrying about their safety while they need to leave the home. Consider the following points when making a decision about leaving your mom alone: Is she able to use the telephone in an emergency or know how to get help?

Does she show signs of withdrawal, anxiety or depression when left alone for any period of time? Could she distinguish a dangerous situation? Would she attempt to cook for herself or use other appliances? Does she wander?

These questions offer you some direction in making that decision to leave your mom home alone.

Environment plays a key factor is keeping the home safe and comfortable. Try to look at your home through the eyes of your mom who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Are there areas of danger for her?

What objects might injure her, i.e., sharp knives, scissors, etc.? Are there well-lit pathways to her room and the bathroom?

Keep floors and surfaces free of clutter and try to keep everything in the same place so your mom can become familiar with her living area. To assist in reducing the risk of falls, install handrails and grab bars as needed, especially in the toilet and bathing area of the bathroom. It is also a good idea to eliminate rugs in the house as these can cause trips and falls.

You can install alarms on the doors to alert you when/if your mom tends to wander. Additionally, you can place locks either high or low on the inside of exterior doors to make it difficult for your mom to wander out of the house.

Check all your safety devices like the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, and make sure they are in working order.

Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, at (225) 334-7494 or advice@alzbr.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.