This page is intended to provide caregiving safety tips for caregivers of an elderly person with cognitive deficits and balance or ambulation issues. Please use the tips for the safety and well-being of your loved one.
Safety Tip #1
In my home-health work with elders afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer's, I have found some very dangerous situations regarding chemicals in the home. A family must be aware that victims of dementia or Alzheimer's no longer have their full
cognitive faculties. They have been known to eat or drink chemicals intended for cleaning or other household purposes other than ingesting. Some of these chemicals may only give the person some gastro-intestinal disturbances but some household chemicals can be extremely dangerous and even fatal if ingested. Hazardous chemicals should always be kept in a secure and preferably locked cabinet out of the reach of small children and elders with dementia.
Hazardous chemicals, such as Cadmium, Lead and Bisphenol-A (BPA), are commonly found in many homes and pose health risks to all ages and particularly to those already afflicted with health problems.
Home Health Chemistry.com is a good website offering practical information and do-it-yourself detection tests or hazardous chemicals that may be found in your home and pose a risk to your health.
Safety Tip #3
I have also found that many people use throw rugs throughout their house. They are fine for catching dirt as people enter the home, but I've seen them in every room of some houses. These throw rugs can be a hazard to elders using a walker or cane or anyone with balance issues. You don't want to risk a fall in an elderly person and the possibility of breaking a hip or anything else.
Safety Tip #4
Another in the list of caregiving safety tips is for you or a trusted friend or relative to prepare a list of urgent or emergency numbers to call if you need help. Print large enough so that the names and numbers are easy to read. At the top of the list, you should have 911. Under that, you can include names and phone numbers of people who you can call if you need help and it's not an emergency.
Place the list next to the phone nearest your bed and place another list on the refrigerator. If emergency responders come to your home, they will look at your bedside and refrigerator for numbers of relatives to call.
I hope you never have to use that list for an emergency, but if your do, you'll be glad you had it handy.
Safety Tip #5
I once had a lady tell me that her husband had tried to shoot his image in the mirror. Her husband had Alzheimer's and when he saw himself in the mirror, he thought it was another man having an affair with his wife. The lady had to wrestle the gun away from him. She later called her son to come and remove all the guns from their home.
Need I say more about caregiving safety tips #5? Lock up or remove guns from your home. If you must have them, make sure the person with Alzheimer's can't get to them.
Do you have a safety tip that you learned through your own experience? Most of us who have had to care for a loved one, have learned what to do to make our home safer. Unfortunately, many times, it's been after we experienced an accident or some other adverse event. The safety tips you share here will help others not make the same mistakes. Please share your experience!
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