01 Mar Helpful guide to improve your home for a loved one with Alzheimer’s
When a loved one has a disease like Alzheimer’s, paying for outside assistance may not always be an option. But help in any form is crucial if you’re connected. Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.4 million Americans, about 5.2 million of which are 65 and older. It can be your grandparent, your cousin, your sibling or even your parent who faces the diagnosis. Eventually, those with Alzheimer’s require round-the-clock care, and for many families, that means taking the loved one into their own home.
So, if you find yourself in the camp of being the sole caretaker, it’s important that to make crucial home modifications in order to make everyone’s life a little bit easier. As the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, dismiss any feelings of discomfort as you prepare yourself for your new caretaker role.
Perform a thorough walk-through of your home
The process before bringing someone with Alzheimer’s into your home is much like someone with a physical ability — it’s extremely helpful to conduct a thorough room-by-room walk-through in order to determine what tweaks are needed to make life easier for your loved one on a daily basis. While this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, there are some of the pertinent items that should be on your list regardless of the scenario you are enduring.
Kitchen and bathroom
ARE cabinet door knobs easy to use, stove controls clearly marked, grab bars available where needed, appliances and utensils conveniently and safely located, counter height and depths comfortable, tub and shower implementations in place, water temperature regulated?
Closets and storage spaces
DO you have convenient storage and closet space to include shelving systems?
Doors and Windows
ARE your doors and windows easy to open and close, locks easy to operate, and can entryways accommodate someone in a wheelchair or walker if applicable?
Electrical Outlets, Switches and Safety Devices
DO you have light and power switches easy to turn on and off, easily accessible electrical outlets, an alarm system and smoke detectors and a readily available telephone — with or without an assistive device?
ARE they on the same level, are stairs marked, are floor surfaces covered with non-slip/skid materials?
Hallways, Steps and Stairways
DO you need a ramp to enter the home, handrails in common areas or stair renovations? Lift options are also available if you’re contemplating stairs.
Lighting and Ventilation
IS lighting sufficient and safe in each room, and is each room well-ventilated with good air circulation?
Basic is best when it comes to preparing your home for a loved one with Alzheimer’s
Don’t dismiss basic hacks such as installing timed lights and dimmers, making the staircase easier to see, instituting flameless candles, keeping an upbeat playlist on hand and investing in an induction stove — all can make a world of difference in the home of someone struggling with Alzheimer’s while having little economic impact.
Check in with yourself
Aside from the checklists and protocols, ask yourself if you’re doing the same for yourself, too. Feeling burned out? It’s likely there are underlying issues such as denial that your loved one is troubled, whether or not there’s anxiety about the future or depression and sleeplessness, — all are signs that you may need assistance.
The stress level associated with assisting someone with Alzheimer’s is insurmountable, yet by tapping into proper resources, maintaining a sense of normalcy isn’t impossible. By adopting a one-step-at-a-time policy — to include being resourceful and knowing when to ask for help — you’re more apt to succeed.