November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and here in San Diego county, the statistics are as staggering as are the national statistics. There are 60,000 people living with Alzheimer’s with care-giving support of 150,000 people locally. The number of people with Alzheimer’s is expected to go to 100,000 by 2030. So we can expect the care-giving roles to grow at an equal or greater pace as families care for loved ones with this disease.
There are important support organizations and networks for individuals, families, and caregivers. One aspect of the care is preparation of the home environment and changes that can reduce or ease some of the stresses of care. We cannot prevent all accidents or changes in behavior, but we can take steps to minimize the impact.
Here are five home preparation tips (that truly work for everyone!)
- Make sure the basic home safety devices are in working order, including the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Smoke alarms have a shelf life of ten years, even if we are diligent about changing the batteries; so please replace the smoke detector itself if there is any doubt about how long since it was installed.2. A fire extinguisher is recommended for every kitchen. We should know how to use it, too! There is a quick video on the Household Guardians YouTube channel that demonstrates the use of a fire extinguisher.3. First aid kits in handy locations are important to solve small injuries quickly.4. Keep the medical information and emergency numbers handy. The Vial of Life is an easy way to do it. Update the medication list with any changes when they occur so emergency personnel have access to the most current information.5. Keep a spare key to the house outside. A loved one might lock the doors and not be able to unlock them.
These ideas are important for every family so I would encourage you to please take these steps and watch for more ideas on accident prevention in our next post.