Saturday 13 January 2018

How Caregivers Can Prepare Their Home For Alzheimer’s Patients

When your parent was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you had an important decision to make: Where would your parent live? After discussing it with your family and a medical team, you’ve decided to move them into your house.

That means you will need to make a few changes to the place so your parent is safe and comfortable. Before you do anything, you should better understand what Alzheimer’s means.

Image Source: Pixabay

Understanding Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological condition that can affect older people. The National Institute on Aging explains symptoms tend to appear in the mid-60s, although it can appear as early as the mid-30s. Because it affects the mind, it can lead to problems with memory, cognition, and behavior. Seniors with Alzheimer’s can suffer from a wide range of problems, but the most common include memory loss, impaired judgment, and difficulty with everyday tasks like paying bills or cooking meals.

Perhaps the biggest concern is that there is no cure for the disease. The FDA has approved some medications that help slow the progression of symptoms, but that only happens with about 50% of the seniors taking these prescriptions. The severity of problems coupled with the lack of a cure is why so many families take in a parent with Alzheimer’s disease.

Changing Your Home

Because the symptoms can be severe, you will have to make some changes to your home. The key focus is to improve safety for your parent. Two rooms tend to have the highest chance of accidents: kitchens and bathrooms. That’s why you should work on those first.

When it comes to the kitchen, Dementia Today recommends that you make sure appliances and drawers are clearly marked and easy to use. You may have to label drawers and cabinets in case your parent forgets what is stored inside. The same is true for controls on the stove, microwave, and appliances. You should also make sure you have a smoke alarm in the kitchen and that the batteries inside are changed every season.

For the bathroom, the Mayo Clinic explains that you should install a grab bar in the shower or tub. This helps someone with Alzheimer’s steady themselves in a risky environment. In addition, you should lower the temperature of your water heater. This way, your parent won’t burn themselves by forgetting just how hot the bathroom water can get.

As for the house as a whole, you will want to use proper lighting to make rooms well-lit so it’s easier to maneuver around furniture. Tape down any throw rugs so there’s no chance of slipping on them, and consider installing a home monitoring system that you can view online. This can help you monitor your parent’s safety while you are at work.

Planning For The Future

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease has no cure. That means the symptoms and problems can get progressively worse. While modifying your home can help a lot, you will need to speak to your parent about future. This can range from what other changes to the home need to be made to the uncomfortable talk about end-of-life care.

As the Neptune Society shows, this conversation will be difficult. But it is also very important to have. First, you want to respect the rights of your parent regarding any arrangements they want. It’s also better to make any such decisions now rather than when there is a crisis. But this talk can also be a great way to bond with your parent and help everyone in your family feel better about the situation. The unknown can create fear, so by having this conversation, everyone can understand what the future will entail.

Get Your Home Ready

Becoming your parent’s caregiver is a difficult job. You can make this easier for you and your parent by making a few changes to the home. Label controls and drawers in the kitchen, install a grab bar, and have a conversation about end-of-life arrangements now before the symptoms get worse. This can help everyone involved handle the transition more smoothly.

After her Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Lydia Chan struggled to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life.  She founded as an online resource for fellow caregivers and seniors.  In her spare time, Lydia writes articles about a range of caregiving topics.

Note from Donna: If you are contemplating a move with a parent who has hearing loss, here's a great resource!

1 comment:

Hazelmere Nursing said...

nice information about Alzheimer's Dieses and How caregivers can prepare their home for alzheimer's patient. Nice blog. keep it up