Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers on How to Prepare Your Home
Caregivers are invaluable for our society. Caring for those who need it most is a courageous and difficult journey. Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people every year. Eventually, those with Alzheimer’s require round-the-clock care, and for many families, that means taking the loved one into their own home.
A person with Alzheimer’s disease is suffering damage to their brain cells which causes depression, confusion, memory loss, and disorientation. Patients become disoriented and begin to lose perception and recollection of recent events and family members. There are also physical changes that happen. According to LiveStrong, some of these include:
- Mobility becomes restricted and muscles rigid
- Inability to control some bodily functions
- Inability to perform simple daily motor skills
The cognitive deteriorations along with these physical limitations will demand a lot of you as the caregiver. It becomes necessary to make some changes and possible modifications to your house in order to make the living situation as comfortable and safe as possible. In order to afford these changes, for many that means taking out a home loan. You can effectively raise that amount, since a home equity loan is based on your property appraisal. Since these loans are at low interest rates right now, they’re an affordable solution for those who do not qualify for other types of funding.
Another way to free up cash is through refinancing your home. When interest rates are low, look to refinancing as an option to lower your monthly mortgage payment, possibly with a better rate and terms than your current mortgage. Plus, if you’re a veteran with a VA loan, you can take advantage of a VA IRRRL refinance. These loans are easier to apply for and have a shorter closing time, and you can easily lower your mortgage payment. Good news is, VA IRRRL rates are at near-historic lows.
Read on for more tips and advice from RenovationFaceTime.com.
Think Safety First
One of the first questions to ask yourself is how do you eliminate unnecessary hazards and increase safety? You’ll need to take into consideration the above physical limitations and your loved one’s individual needs. Consider safety checklists, such as the one provided by the National Institute of Aging, that provide general advice. Always observe your loved one closely to identify new hazards and changes in behavior. Some other tips include:
- Remove obstacles that could cause them to trip like scatter rugs, extension cords, furniture in walk paths, etc.
- Put away dangerous items like household chemicals, firearms, and kitchen knives.
- Keep nightlights on in dark hallways, bathrooms, and kitchens
- Because people with dementia may wander out, install alarms that notify you when a door or window is opened.
- Keep prescription medications locked.
People with Alzheimer’s are most often comfortable at home. However, most houses are not designed for people with dementia, so it’s important to consider modifications that improve safety, comfort, and functionality.
Evaluating your bathroom presents special challenges, but it is vital because so many accidents often happen here because of slippery conditions or inadequate balance. Here are some tips to make your bathroom safer:
- Remove locks from bathroom doors and consider placing a sign on the door to avoid confusion.
- Install handrails and grab bars in shower and around the toilet to help with balance.
- Install raised toilet seats.
- Ensure that the water temperature does not exceed 120 degrees to avoid accidental scalding.
- Installing a monitoring device.
Kitchen safety is equally important and also presents potentially dangerous situations because of appliances and sharp objects. Consider doing the following:
● Lock up household cleaning products
● Clean the refrigerator often to avoid spoiled foods
● Remove sharp knives and utensils from easy access
● Remove items that cause confusion
● Use aluminum covers to put over stove tops
The bedroom might be where your loved one spends a lot of time, so keeping it comfortable and cozy helps them remain at ease. Safety options include:
● Installing handrails near bed.
● Removing obstructions or confusing items.
● Removing the locks from the doors so you can always come in.
● Installing a monitoring device
As the Huffington Post suggests, you can’t be an effective caregiver if you’re burned out and frustrated, so take some time for yourself. Get out of the house occasionally and don’t stop participating in activities you enjoy.
Preparing a home for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s is about making their lives easier, safer, and more comfortable, but many modifications will also ensure you are not in a state of stress and worried about them 24 hours a day. It will grant them some independence and mobility and you some peace of mind. Remember that making the right alterations to your home are an investment in you and your loved one.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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