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Living at Home With Dementia: Potential Risks

A smiling senior woman sitting in a wheelchair.

You want to support your loved one’s desire to live at home independently. However, you also want him/her to stay safe. If your loved one has dementia, it may bring an extra set of challenges.

In many cases, it’s safe for a family member to live at home with dementia for a time. But, you need to take the right precautions. Review these eight common risks and find out how to keep your loved one safe at home.

Hot Water Risks

If your loved one’s water heater isn’t set properly, the water might become hot enough to scald mom or dad. Check his or her water heater and set it to 120 Fahrenheit. In addition, make sure the labels on every facet are clear to help your parent avoid mixing up hot and cold.

Risk of Falling

Falls remain a concern for every senior, especially those with dementia. Protect against falls in your parent’s bathroom by adding non-slip mats and grab bars. Around the house, remove any tripping hazards – such as rugs, coffee tables, cords, or floor lamps.

Kitchen Risks

In the kitchen, start by placing kitchen knives or other sharp tools out of reach. You also may consider replacing your loved one’s appliances. The stove and other small appliances should have automatic shut-off features in the event your parent forgets an appliance is turned on.

Transportation Risks

For many, talking about when it’s time for a parent to stop driving is a difficult conversation. However, if your loved one has dementia, it’s important to make a plan for transportation early. As dementia progresses, it makes it hard for mom or dad to remember directions or follow traffic signals. So, consider how family, friends, or community organizations can help give him or her a ride.

Risk of Weapons

Anything in your parent’s home that could be used as a weapon is a concern. This includes things like guns and knives but also power tools or gardening tools. You should remove these items from the home or lock them up. If your loved one mistakes you for a stranger or intruder, keeping these items out of reach could prevent an accident.

Medication Risks

It’s important to have a dedicated system for giving your loved one his or her medications. Be sure medicines are kept in a locked cabinet where they can’t be accidentally taken. Keep a log of each dose in the cabinet and consider using a pill box to keep things organized

Finance Risks

It’s likely your loved one will need help with finances, budgeting, and long-term planning. While mom or dad is still able to make informed choices, review legal items like wills, as well as financial items like investments and benefits. If you need additional help, talk with a professional for guidance.

In an Emergency

In case of an emergency, make it easy for mom or dad to get help. Place important phone numbers in multiple places around the house. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends including local police, fire departments, hospitals, and poison control helplines. Many families also find peace of mind through the use of a medical alert system

Overall, be sure you have a plan to care for your loved one in the long term. Review these Alzheimer’s warning signs. Then, talk with your family member about the best place to live when living at home is no longer safe. Signature Pointe is here to help you find the right memory care for your loved one.

Signature Pointe offers comprehensive memory care services and is available to help. Call 214-726-7575 and learn more.