Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disease and is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer's disease typically progresses slowly in three general stages — mild (early stage), moderate (middle stage), and severe (late stage). Since Alzheimer's affects people in different ways, each person will experience symptoms – or progress through Alzheimer's stages – differently.
Does your senior parent live with an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis? Because Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can severely impact your senior parent’s cognitive function, they may be less able to manage the home – for example, they may forget to turn off the water, or they may forget important phone numbers or how to dial the phone. Additionally, they may forget how certain home appliances function – such as the stove, garage door, etc.
“While some Alzheimer’s behaviors can be managed medically, many, such as wandering and agitation, cannot,” according to the National Institute on Aging (NIH). It is more effective to change the person’s surroundings – for example, to remove dangerous items – than to try to change behaviors. Changing the home environment can give the person more freedom to move around independently and safely.”
In order to create an Alzheimer’s- and dementia-safe home, the NIH recommends that the following be added to your senior parent’s home:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in or near the kitchen and in all bedrooms
- Emergency phone numbers (ambulance, poison control, doctors, hospital, etc.) and the person’s address near all phones
- Safety knobs and an automatic shut-off switch on the stove
- Childproof plugs for unused electrical outlets and childproof latches on cabinet doors
In order to create a safe home, you should also lock up or remove the following items from your senior parent’s home:
- Prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and alcohol
- Cleaning and household products, such as paint thinner and matches
- Poisonous plants
- Guns and other weapons, scissors, knives, power tools, and machinery
- Gasoline cans and other dangerous items in the garage
In addition, your senior parent with Alzheimer’s disease may struggle with walking or may forget the location of rugs, steps, and stairs throughout the home. In order to prevent falls and injuries:
- Remove unnecessary furniture
- Get rid of clutter, such as piles of newspapers and magazines
- Have a sturdy handrail on stairways
- Put carpet on stairs, or mark the edges of steps with brightly colored tape so the person can see them more easily
- Put a gate across the stairs if the person has balance problems
- Remove small throw rugs and use rugs with nonskid backing instead
- Make sure cords to electrical outlets are out of the way or tacked to baseboards
- Install nonskid floor strips and ensure that your senior parent wears shoes and slippers with good traction
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can severely impact your senior parent’s health, well-being, and independence, especially when they live alone at home. As your senior parent’s progression worsens, their need for consistent, professional care increases, as their ability to care for themselves safely weakens. If you’re acting as your parent’s only source of care, the quality of the care you provide can diminish as your stress and depression increase. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, call SYNERGY HomeCare or Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. Our in-home caregivers are trained to provide your elderly parent with compassionate, courteous, and professional care services to ensure that your senior parent is comfortable, healthy, and safe in their own home. Our caregiver services include:
- Personal assistance care: Bathing, showering, using the restroom, getting in and out of bed, wheelchairs, etc.
- Errands and transportation: Driving to the doctor’s office or an appointment, picking up prescriptions, going grocery shopping, etc.
- Meal assistance: Complete and nutritious meal planning, preparing, and cleanup
- Light housekeeping: Assistance with laundry, ironing, changing linens, kitchen/bathroom cleaning, and organizing, etc.
- Companionship: Encouraging friendly and supportive conversation, active thinking (structuring pastimes, hobbies and games), light exercise, etc.
- Live-in and 24-hour care
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills
SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is the name you can trust in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange and Placentia for personal home care. SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/anaheim-hills/ca25. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected].