Surveying a House for Risks to a Dementia Patient

Posted on: 9 July 2018

When someone is diagnosed with dementia, it's understandably a lot for them and their family to take in. Considering all the changes to expect in the immediate and more distant future is difficult and painful, and it's best not to complicate things too much in the early stages.

Keeping a regular routine helps dementia patients maintain their cognitive functioning for longer, and it also goes a long way towards helping with the psychological impact of getting such a diagnosis. A big part of this is the person keeping their own home, but it's important to make sure it's safe for them as their condition progresses. Follow these tips and carry out a full survey of the person's home so you can ensure their safety.

Start with the more hazardous rooms

In most houses, the bathroom and the kitchen are the most dangerous rooms. Water, slippery floors, hot appliances and sharp objects all present dangers to someone who is less able to perform everyday tasks than they once were.

Make a note of anywhere that rails could help prevent slips, especially in and near the bath and shower. List any potential dangers in the kitchen, including knives and other sharp items and appliances that heat up.

Think about how easy it is to navigate

People with dementia can begin to get confused when finding their way around. In large homes, this can become a serious problem. Look for rooms that could be closed off and anywhere that colour-coded doors could help the homeowner find certain rooms.

Look for tripping risks

Check every room for frayed or loose carpets that could cause someone to trip over. You should also look out for wires that trail across the ground or anything else that might cause a fall.

Don't forget to look under and behind any furniture that might be moved in the process of making the house safer.

You should also consider how sturdy and easy-to-grip the handrails are on the stairs. If there's only one, it's a good idea to note down that a second one would be useful. If the stairs are particularly steep, a lift could be a better option if possible.

Check the external doorways

Check to see if there are high steps in and out of the property that might need ramps and handrails to make them safer. If the person is going to be using their backyard, look outside, too, and make sure the ground is level and even.

Make sure there's enough lighting

Areas that aren't well lit increase the chance of accidents and also make navigation more difficult for people with dementia. Make a note of anywhere that doesn't get enough lighting so you can arrange for extra fittings or more powerful bulbs.

For more ideas, contact a company that offers in-home age care.