Alzheimer’s Association amplifies home safety

The Alzheimer's Association provides tips for keeping homes safe for those with Alzheimer's or...
The Alzheimer's Association provides tips for keeping homes safe for those with Alzheimer's or dementia.(Dakota News Now)
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 11:38 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - June is national safety month and the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging caregivers and families of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia to stress the importance of home safety.

There are more than 6 million Americans over age 65 living with Alzheimer’s; 220,000 of those are Ohio residents.

“The brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s or other dementia affect each person differently and can pose new safety concerns and considerations that may have not existed previously,” said Pam Myers, program director of the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter. “These can include changes in the individual’s physical ability, judgment and behavior.”

The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is hosting an educational program to highlight the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease at Little Flower Catholic Parish in Toledo.

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s is a free program available June 6 from 12:00 P.M. to 12:45 P.M. on 5522 Dorr St. The program will go over signs of the disease, how to approach someone about memory concerns and the importance of early detection and benefits of a diagnosis.

Pre-registration is required, call the 24/7 association helpline at 800-272-3900.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers a home safety checklist to help keep loved ones safe some of these include:

Evaluate the environment- Pay attention to garages, basements and outside areas where there are likely to be tools, chemicals, cleaning supplies and other items that may require supervision.

Be prepared for emergencies- Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses for local police and fire departments, hospitals and poison control helplines. Also keep fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors handy.

Install locks out of sight- Put deadbolt locks either high or low on exterior doors to make it hard for the person to wander out of the home. Keep an extra set of keys hidden near door for easy access. Remove locks in bathrooms or bedrooms to prevent the person from locking themselves in.

Keep walkways well lit- Add extra lights to entries, doorways, stairways and bathrooms. Nightlights are helpful in preventing accidents and reducing disorientation.

Remove tripping hazards- Keep surfaces clutter-free, keep extension cords tucked away, remove through rugs or smaller furniture items that can be a tripping hazard.

Place medications in a locked place- To ensure that medications are taken safely, use a pillbox organizer or keep a daily check list.

Avoid injury in the bathroom- Install walk-in showers, add grab bars to shower or tub, add textured stickers to slippery surfaces and set the water temperature in sinks and tubs to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less to prevent scalding.

Remove or secure firearms and other weapons- Weapons may present unexpected danger in the home of a person with dementia. Dementia can cause a person to mistake their caregiver or family member as an intruder, or they could lack the cognitive ability to use a firearm safely.

“Taking measures to improve safety can prevent injuries and help a person with dementia feel more relaxed, less overwhelmed, and maintain his or her independence longer,” said Myers. “It is important for families to re-evaluate safety plans as the disease progresses and safety issues change. Our chapter offers free care consultations and educational programs that offer help to families who are concerned about these and other issues in caring for loved ones with dementia.”

To learn more about home safety, including tips on wandering, driving and medication safety, visit alz.org/nwohio or call (419) 537-1999 or the 24/7 helpline at (800) 272-3900.

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