Home Care For Seniors With Dementia: What You Should Know

Posted on: 10 April 2015

When your parent or loved one ages and begins to suffer from dementia, you find yourself constantly worried about their health and safety in their home. And while you wish you could, there is just no way that you yourself can be there with them in their home 24 hours a say to monitor and assist them in dealing with their struggles with dementia. Making the decision to hire a senior home care service to help is a big step, and finding the right service for your loved one can take some time. As such, you should get to know some of the steps you can take in the meantime to keep your loved one safe in their home. 

Remove Knives and Other Sharps

When a person suffers from dementia their behaviors can become erratic and unpredictable. However, in some circumstances they can make some sense. Dementia is progressive almost always affecting newly formed memories first and then progressing backwards through time. 

As such, they will often (without being aware) revert to habitual behaviors that they have acquired throughout the years. This means daily activities like shaving or cooking. So, it would not be uncommon to find your loved one chopping vegetables (sometimes real sometimes hallucinated) or trying to shave or cut their hair at random times including the middle of the night.

To protect your loved one from cutting or injuring themselves or others, you should remove knives and other sharps from their normal locations. While you do not need to remove them from the house entirely, placing all sharps in a locked case or drawer will ensure that your loved one does not have access when they are in their confused state. 

Block Off Stairs and Eliminate Fall Risks

If your loved one has not lived in their current home for a long time, their dementia will progress in a way that makes their own home unfamiliar and confusing to them. Because of this, they may forget where there are stairs, ledges, throw rugs, and other objects that could cause your loved one to trip and fall. 

You should try to eliminate as many fall risks as possible. If their home has a basement or lower level that your loved one does not need to access or use on a regular basis, install a door that can be locked with a key to keep them from accidentally falling down the stairs.

However, if the stairs are necessary for mobility around the home this is not possible. In these cases, carpet or place skid-proof rugs on the stairs so if your loved one does sneak over to them unsupervised the injuries they incur will be less severe. Eliminating other fall risks such as bulky rugs, unnecessary end and coffee tables or the like will further help your loved one with dementia navigate their home when it becomes unfamiliar.

Caring for your loved one with dementia can be a challenging task. While you work to hire a senior care service (such as South Florida Home Care) to help you with this task, be sure to take the necessary steps to make your loved one's home safer for them to live in and navigate.