We are free to do as we wish in our own home from entertaining guests, watching our favourite programme on TV to cooking in the kitchen. We usually do these things without sparing much thought. However, if a member of the house gets diagnosed with Dementia, the activities that were once second nature to us can potentially be dangerous. In this article, I will outline points to help carers create a peaceful atmosphere.
The following are signs of Dementia:
- Judgement – losing grip of items
- Physical ability –becoming dependent upon a wheelchair or walker or losing balance
- Fading of the senses
- Confusion and memory loss
- Acting out of character
I would encourage carers to look out for the signs. The earlier they are picked up on, the more can be done to help the sufferers.
Please also note that the above characteristics may not take place overnight, but are likely to happen nonetheless.
To help Dementia sufferers, the following are worthwhile to undertake:
Evaluate the house
Identify objects around the house that can be harmful, such as sharp razors and knives. Keep them as far away from the sufferers reach as possible. If it helps, remove them all together. Don’t forget to reflect on their mobility; is there enough space for movement? Or is there too much clutter?
This could be achieved by putting up familiar photos and pieces of art. Watching old family videos and taking part in activities that they were once fond of can also be helpful to trigger memories.
Typically, accidents happen when a person is over stretched or hurried. In which case, it is best to shorten the distance and activity times for each part of their daily chores. Also, create a usual space for their necessities, such as reading glasses and slippers. Moreover, labelling essentials helps sufferers identify items and their correct use.
Instead of introducing new, safer systems into their habits, adapt what’s already there to encourage memory.
There have been cases where Dementia sufferers have forgotten to eat. To prevent this from happening, I would suggest placing snacks around the house to remind them.
It isn’t always essential to fit a stair lift as soon as the illness has been diagnosed, as the part of the brain that recollects skills is one of the last to be provoked. Yet, it is best to make sure stair carpet is firmly fixed and that it is well lit.
I would advise to fit handrails in the bathroom and make sure chemicals are out of sight and reach.
Consider professional help
Lastly, it isn’t always possible to have precautions for everything, as a senior’s needs are always changing. However if trips, falls and accidents are becoming regular and it is becoming challenging for you, it may be time to consider outside help.