Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease can be incredibly difficult, especially if you don’t have experience as a caregiver for dementia patients. You may not realize it, but there’s a lot you can do to create a home environment less dangerous and more suitable for anyone living with Alzheimer’s. Considering that Alzheimer’s patients are often homebound in the later stages, having a safe place for your parent to reside is of the utmost importance. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, keep reading to learn more about some home modifications you should invest in.
What home modifications can benefit your parent with Alzheimer’s disease?
The bathroom is a good place to start when making home improvements. If you have a parent with Alzheimer’s, they may be vulnerable to slips and falls, which can result in a serious injury or other type of medical emergency. You should have an elevated toilet seat installed, as well as multiple grab bars in strategic locations. Putting nonstick mats on the floor is another smart idea for reducing risk. You can talk to a bathroom specialist about the best way to approach this type of remodel. Look for a contractor with a stellar reputation for quality craftsmanship and years of experience with projects like yours, like this business that handles bathroom remodeling in Minneapolis.
Labels are a great way to help Alzheimer’s patients at home. You can use words or pictures, depending on what is most effective for your parent. For example, you can add a label to each of your kitchen cabinets with details on what’s inside. You can include details about their morning routine in the bathroom and mark dresser drawers with what type of clothing they contain. These notes can help jog a person’s memory and help them through daily tasks.
It’s also important to minimize visual confusion. Contrasting colors, like using a white plate on a dark blue place mat, can be helpful. Elaborate patterns can be problematic and lead to overstimulation. Delusion and hallucinations are also often present in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, which can be worsened by bright and busy patterns. Make sure you fill the space with photos, keepsakes, and other items that may bring back happy memories and help your parent feel comfortable at home.
What is Alzheimer’s disease, and is there a cure?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that causes the brain to atrophy, which leads to cell death. It’s the most common form of dementia and involves a continuous decline in cognitive, behavioral, and social skills. There are several Alzheimers stages that your parent will go through, and as a caregiver, you should familiarize yourself with the nuances of each stage. Early signs include forgetting conversations and recent events, but in the later stages, patients develop severe memory impairment and need assistance with most daily tasks.
Unfortunately, there is not currently a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. There are treatments and lifestyle adjustments that can slow disease progression and help manage symptoms, but there’s no way to alter the disease process in the brain yet. There are a number of clinical trials underway that may help researchers better understand the disease and get us closer to a real cure.
No one wants to imagine their parent developing Alzheimer’s, but millions of people in the United States and all over the world are living with the disease. When it comes to home safety, Alzheimer’s patients can benefit from simple additions like an elevated seat and grab bars in the bathroom. Even smaller adjustments, like labeling cabinets or putting up family photos, can make a difference. Alzheimer’s disease presents patients and their caregivers with challenges to overcome on a daily basis, but some simple home modifications can significantly improve your parent’s quality of life.
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