How to Keep Your Parent With Dementia Safe at Home

Dementia is a disease that impacts the person’s cognition which includes memory, judgment, language, and impulse control, to name a few.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, some of the early signs of dementia include, short term memory loss that impacts daily life, challenges in planning and problem solving, confusion with place and time, difficulty finding the right words, changes in mood, and difficulty completing normal tasks.  A person afflicted with dementia may forget items as minor as where he placed the keys to more dangerous tasks, such as, forgetting to turn off the stove.

The burden of ensuring the person’s safety and well-being quickly falls onto the closest family members involved in the person’s life.  Dementia is an unpredictable disease that brings about new challenges almost every day for some that are afflicted.  Family members and close friends are typically the first to spot signs that the person may be putting himself or others at risk.

Below are safety tips to help keep your loved one safe at home.

  1. Purchase an automatic stove shut-off device.  These units can either work as a timer or operate through the power plug.  Check out this article for more information.
  2. Install a monitoring system.  Through audio and video monitoring, family members can keep a closer eye on their loved one’s daily routine and prevent safety hazards from occurring.
  3. Assess whether driving is safe.  Keep notes on safety issues that have occurred with your loved one’s driving including, tickets, failing to stop at traffic lights or stop signs, fender benders, and signaling incorrectly.  Getting feedback from a physician could also be useful.
  4. Use a medication management system.  Automated medication dispensers have built in reminders, alarms, and dispensing mechanisms to keep your loved one on a regular schedule with taking medication.  Check out this article for more information.  Also, many pharmacies offer prepackaged medications that organize all the medications a person takes into a daily packet at no additional cost.  Check out an example of a prepackaged medication packet here.

Keep in mind that dementia is a disease that has many twists and turns.  What worked for the person today may not work tomorrow.  It’s important to continue to assess the person’s capabilities and safety concerns as the disease progresses.  Keeping him or her safe at home allows for continued quality of life and familiarity while being surrounded by friends and family.