Home safety checklist: Living with dementia

free-safety-at-home-classPeople living with mild memory impairments or in the early stages of dementia can often live and be left alone safely. But – at some point, it will become necessary to have someone with the person at all times in order to prevent injury or harm. Planning ahead and preventing injury can extend the person’s independence.

This checklist is designed to create a safer environment for you and your household. As always, if you have concerns for your safety or are in need of home safety supplies, please contact Alzheimer’s San Diego (858.492.4400 or info@alzsd.org).

Throughout the home
 Free walkways and stairs of clutter and cords. Add handrails to assist with balance.
 Check all rooms, walkways, and stairs for adequate lighting.
 Mark edges of steps/stairs with brightly colored tape so they are seen more easily.
 Have an extra set of house and car keys, in case they are misplaced.
 Having emergency phone numbers and your address beside all landlines. Label at least one person as “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” into the phone.
 Ensure that there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all rooms.
 Store away poisonous or hazardous substances and cleaning products.
 Remove any other household items that could cause injury such as scissors, knives, power tools, and machinery. Avoid having these items out on display.
 Secure any guns and other weapons in a safe location or remove them from the home.
 Store medications in a secured area if supervision with taking medication is needed.

Kitchen
 Have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.
 When the stove top is not in use, place a stove top cover on it to prevent unnecessary use. Use oven locks to prevent touching hot surfaces.
 Check the refrigerator and pantry weekly to prevent spoiled foods.
 Remove items like fake fruit or other décor that can be mistaken for edible foods.
 Use appliances with auto shut off features.
 Keep vitamins and prescriptions in a secured area.
 Post signs like “Don’t touch – very hot!” for helpful reminders when things are hot or unsafe.

Bathroom
 Install grab bars near shower, bathtub, and toilet.
 Use a non-skid bath mat or non-slip surface in bathtub or shower.
 Have an extra key on hand in case the bathroom door is accidentally locked.
 Lower the water heater temperature to prevent burns or scalding.
 Use a shower chair or transfer bench to minimize the risk of falling or slipping.

Want to learn more about home safety? Contact Alzheimer’s San Diego by calling 858.492.4400 or emailing info@alzsd.org.