Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects an individual’s memory, thinking, and behavior. One of the earliest symptoms of this disease is a person’s inability to remember newly acquired information. This failure occurs mainly because the disease first affects the area of the brain that is responsible for learning. Other symptoms include loss of memory loss and frequent changes in an individual’s mood. Others signs include confusion about events, places, and time in addition to unfounded suspicions of the people around them including family members.
As time goes by, the symptoms become severe, and the patient will eventually have trouble walking, speaking, and swallowing.
Alzheimer’s affects family members greatly as it does other people who were close to the patient. It affects them because the patient begins to forget shared memories and experiences gradually. Eventually, he will lose some of his physical abilities. Witnessing these kinds of things happening to a loved one is disheartening. In fact, many family members find this situation unbearable especially if they are also caregivers to the person living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Creating a Safe Environment for Patients Who Suffer from Alzheimer’s disease
The changes that occur in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s make it difficult for them to navigate through an environment that they felt comfortable in before the onset of the disease. Some of these changes include the following.
• Physical ability –patients will have trouble when it comes to maintaining their balance
• Behavior- patients will feel confused or fearful
• Judgment- patients will forget how to use household appliances
• Senses- their vision, depth perception, hearing and sensitivity to temperatures may be affected
• The sense of time and place- they may get lost on streets or places that they previously knew quite well.
Therefore, it is advisable for you to assess the patient’s everyday environment. Then you should take some steps to eliminate potential safety hazards. Here are the potential safety hazards that you should eliminate.
• Dark walkways
• Unfettered access to weapons such as guns
• Unsecured tools in the garage or basement
• Poisonous chemicals in the home
• Safety hazards in the kitchen like circuit breakers and gas valves
Tips on How You Can Keep an Alzheimer’s Patient Safe
Start by evaluating your home for potential safety hazards. Remember, viewing your home from the patient’s perspective is the best thing that you could do for the patient. Here are a few tips to help you keep your home safe if you are living with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease.
• Ensure that all the safety devices are working properly including smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
• Install locks high up or low on your exterior doors so that the patient does not wander off by himself.
• Remove locks from the bedroom and the bathroom so that the patient does not lock himself inside any of them rooms.
• Ensure that all walkways have adequate lighting to prevent accidental falls and to reduce disorientation
• Safely lock away any weapons in your household. Remember, a patient may think that you are an intruder if he comes across a weapon such as a gun in your home.
• Keep all the medicine, poisonous chemicals, and gasoline products stored away safely. The patient should not access them easily.
Although Alzheimer’s has no cure, the symptoms are treatable. Moreover, with extra care and vigilance by caregivers and family members, you can improve the quality of life for an Alzheimer’s patient if you create a safe environment for him or her.