Making your home Alzheimer's safe
The decision whether an individual with Alzheimer’s, or some other form of Dementia, should remain in the home or move to a memory care facility can be very difficult. There is no clear answer as to what is best for both the Alzheimer patient and the caregivers.
Aging at home is often seen as the more “compassionate choice”. We believe they will be happier and more comfortable at home. But in-home care also comes with a number of significant challenges.
1. Stimulation. Dementia patients thrive in environments with appropriate levels of stimulation. Often the home, isn’t stimulating enough. There may be little social interaction outside of caregivers. The patient is made comfortable but is not challenged physically or cognitively.
2. Stress. Providing and managing in-home care is extremely stressful for the caregiver. This stress can result in depression and anxiety for the caregiver and the potential for friction (possibly even abuse) between caregiver and patient.
3. Safety. For the patient to be safe in the home, a variety of accommodations must be made. Not all homes are easily made into Alzheimer safe environments.
In deciding on the best option, its often best to draw in an outside consultant for consultation. They can help you make a decision that is best for both the patient and the family. Too often, a fear of a sense of shame, how others might perceive a move to a memory care unit, or a sense of duty get in the way of what’s best for the patient.
And, too often the caregiver downplays the impact of the decision on the quality of their life. Minimizing the stress on your life, is very common. It can feel selfish to consider your feelings when you’re the caregiver. But, failing to keep your needs in the equation will only lead to Caregiver Burnout.
This article from the National Institute on Aging does a good job of outlining many of the key steps in making a home safe and comfortable for someone with Alzheimer’s. Keep these accommodations in mind when you think about making your home safe and comfortable for your loved one with Dementia.
Below, you’ll find an excellent article on making your home safe for individuals with Alzheimer’s.