• People with dementia often have trouble with depth perception, so patterned carpets can be confusing. Solid colors and strong contrasts may help.
  • Install locks on all outside windows and doors. Remove locks in bathrooms and add child-proof latches to kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Clutter can contribute to disorientation and potential falls. Arrange furniture to provide clear walkways.

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For people with dementia, just about every part of the home presents dangers. In the kitchen, secure all cleaning products, knives, matches, and lighters. Install an automatic shut-off switch on the stove or remove the knobs when not cooking. Hide or remove small appliances and consider dismantling the garbage disposal.

Try to address potential nighttime needs such as thirst, hunger, and bathroom visits. Nightlights and intercom devices can help. Consider putting a mat next to the bed if you’re concerned about falls.

Visual Cues

Visual cues can help orient your loved one. These include brightly colored signs or pictures on bathroom and bedroom doors.

Install grab bars in the tub, shower, and toilet area. These can help maintain independence while reducing the risk of falls. Place non-skid adhesive strips throughout the bathroom. Adjust the water heater to 110 or 120 degrees to avoid accidental scalding; people with dementia often lose their ability to gauge dangerous temperatures. Secure any medications and safely dispose of any expired or unused medications.

Get a medical ID bracelet for your loved one inscribed with “memory loss” and an emergency phone number. The Alzheimer’s Association sells such bracelets and offers a Safe Return program that helps wanderers get home safely.

Next Step: Learn how to make doctor’s visits and hospital stays more effective and comfortable.

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Experts at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America have the answers to your toughest Alzheimer’s and dementia questions.

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