Weekly Newsletter

April 24, 2024

Making Your Home Safe for Individuals with Dementia

50 Tips to Help Keep Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients Safe in Your Home — AARP:


Given that “people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia see the world in an unfamiliar, often confusing way… Everyday observations can be frightening — an oil spot can be perceived as a hole, shadows may be seen as sinister beings, a stranger may appear in the mirror.”

Fall Prevention Caregiver Checklist:

Home Safety: How Well Does Your Home Meet Your Needs?

  1. Stairways, steps and walkways
  2. Floor surfaces
  3. Driveways and garage.
  4. Windows and doors
  5. Appliances — kitchen and bath
  6. Lighting and ventilation 
  7. Electrical outlets/switches and alarms

Big picture — Lots of little and big details:

  • Look for obvious falls risks - like uneven surfaces, toys, animals, dim lighting, stairs without rails. Throw rugs with curly corners. Wet floors. Remove clutter.
  • Edges of steps or level changes — mark with neon tape.
  • Fenced in yard and doorway alarms to prevent wandering.
  • Mark clear glass doors with decals to prevent — being run into.
  • Notice changes in your loved one with dementia — it IS a progressive disease. Could be a change in vision, change in medication, musculoskeletal pain. Report falls to PCP.
  • Monitor medications - especially after recent changes for side effects affecting balance and fall risk.
  • Paint walls a light color — easier for folks with dementia to negotiate. 
  • Remove big wall mirrors that would be visually confusing.
  • Illuminate wall light switches so they are easy to find.
  • Good lighting goes a LONG way.

Home safety tips to reduce fall risk


Great website here:

Home Safety Guide

Bathroom: consider these modifications

  • Automate faucets — motion activated — so that they turn off if left running 

  • Shower or tub with bath chair or bench 

  • Have grab bars installed in the tub or shower area. Temporary, function grab bars are not sturdy or safe

  • Raise toilet seat height, add arm rests or support handles

  • To prevent electrical shock — have GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) on bathroom outlets

Bedrooms —  consider these adaptations:

  • Baby monitor

  • Fall detection monitors 

  • Access in and out of bed safely (e.g. bed handle)

  • Motion and light activated night lights that plug into socket (no battery replacement needed)

Kitchen — consider these adaptations:

  • Check the refrigerator for old, moldy food

  • Check refrigerator for enough edible food

  • Disconnect garbage disposal or other electrical equipment that could be harmful

  • Make stove knobs more difficult to accidentally or unknowingly turn on

General mobility — consider these adaptations:

  • Recliners with motorized lift and recliner features

Embrace technology — consider these adaptations:

  • Alarmed doorways, floor mats, seat cushions; motion detectors

Have medications checked for fall risk: (From Dr. Kernisan)

3 categories of medication that should be reviewed to prevent falls:

  • Medicines that affect the brain (psychoactive) — like sedatives
  • Medications that affect blood pressure (making it too low)
  • Medications that affect blood sugars (making it too low, also)

De-prescribing: How to Be on Less Medication for Healthier Aging 

*Ask your physician to review you or your family member’s medications as described above.

Take a minute and “Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults” from the CDC

— Susan Musicant, Injury Prevention Coordinator at DayBreak

Email: susan@daybreakac.org

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