Caregiving for Dementia Patients in San Diego County – 15 Home Safety Tips for Caregivers of Dementia Sufferers

At A Servant’s Heart, we love checklists.  Checklists help us be great at what we do!  They do this by freeing our minds to focus on new ideas and observations, because we don’t have to waste mental energy keeping track of things that can be included in a checklist.

Of course, checklists don’t do you any good if you don’t use them!  They work best for repetitive processes which are composed of many individual detailed steps, none of which can be forgotten.

Not long ago, we noticed a great list of 15 home safety tips related to caring for persons with dementia at The Caregiver Partnership website.  Here are the first five:

  • Keep the home quiet and background noise to a minimum.
  • Install child proof locks and latches high on doors may help deter wandering into unsafe areas.
  • Keep keys out of sight.
  • Post signs on doors like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
  • Place a stop sign on the door to the exterior or unsafe areas (basement stairs).

Note: some time after we published this article, the external article to which we referred disappeared from their website. Here is the checklist, from the Google archives:

  1. Keep the home quiet and background noise to a minimum.
  2. Install child proof locks and latches high on doors may help deter wandering into unsafe areas.
  3. Keep keys out of sight.
  4. Post signs on doors like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
  5. Place a stop sign on the door to the exterior or unsafe areas (basement stairs).
  6. Place familiar items where they can be seen. This helps the individual feel safer and less agitated.
  7. Organize and declutter surroundings. This reduces anxiety, one of the potential causes for wandering.
  8. Nighttime and sun downing (when the person becomes increasingly agitated as evening advances) can be challenging for both the caregiver and the person with dementia. Modifying sleeping arrangements can help reduce the agitation. The bedroom should be cool as this is conducive to sleep and comfort.
  9. Keep bedding and pajamas comfortable so they don’t restrict movement.
  10. Fill the sleeping area with familiar objects. Examples include a favorite soft blanket or pillow or a picture of a family member.
  11. Include a nightlight. It shouldn’t be too bright as this could interrupt sleep.
  12. Ensure that there is sufficient night-time lighting so that if wandering does occur, it will not be hazardous.
  13. Remove all cords so they don’t become a trip hazard.
  14. Make it easy for the wanderer to easily find the bathroom and their way back to their room.
  15. Ensure the person receives sunlight during the day. This helps restore the body’s natural time clock and may help reduce issues with sleeping.

Originally posted 2011-04-26 10:30:00.