Salt Lake County
801-747-2100    888-968-4600
Davis/Weber/Morgan Counties
801-547-0060    866-547-0060
Box Elder/Cache Counties
801-547-0060    866-547-0060

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Is it safe to leave the person with Alzheimer’s disease alone?
It will be necessary to evaluate this issue often throughout the course of the disease.
Does the person with Alzheimer’s disease…
  •   Display confused and unpredictable behavior under stress?
  •   Recognize dangerous situations such as fire?
  •   Know how to use a telephone when necessary?  Knows their address and phone number?
  •   Know how to get help?  Can they dial 911?  Use a personal emergency response system?
  •   Become restless or show signs of agitation or depression if left in the home alone?
  •   Wander and become disoriented throughout the day or in the evening?
  •   Attempt to do activities that may need supervision such as cooking, repair, woodwork?
Tips for Creating a Safe Environment:
Make sure that all areas which are accessible to the person with Alzheimer’s disease are safe and dangerous areas are difficult to access:

  •   Lock up cleaning supplies with childproof latches on storage cabinets and drawers.
  •   Turn off electricity to the garbage disposal.  People with Alzheimer’s may put in unwanted objects or even their hands.  Place a drain trap over drains so unwanted items will not be washed down the drains.
  •   Hide knives, scissors, blades and other utensils that may be sharp or dangerous.
  •   Put away the toaster, blender and any small appliances that may be difficult or dangerous to use.
  •   Unplug larger appliances such as the microwave if not safe to use unsupervised.
  •   Remove knobs from the stove or have a switch installed to turn stove off or disable the stove completely.
  •   Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.  Do not store flammable liquids, matches or lighters in the kitchen.
  •   Clean out refrigerator regularly.  People with Alzheimer’s do not know if food is fresh or spoiled.
  •   Remove all artificial fruit and vegetables or food shaped magnets because they may appear to be edible.
  •   Remove throw rugs to avoid tripping.
  •   Set water temperature at 115-120 degrees to avoid scalding.
  •   Install grab bars in contrasting color (or cover with colorful tape) in tub/shower and beside toilet.  Use an elevated toilet seat.  Use plastic shower stool and hand-held showerhead to make bathing easier.
  •   Apply textured decals on slippery surfaces.  Remove area rugs and replace with washable wall-to-wall carpeting to avoid slipping.
  •   Supervise the use of hairdryers, electric and hand razors and curling irons or if the person cannot use appliances even with supervision, cover electrical outlets and remove appliances from bathroom.
  •   Remove locks from the bathroom door.  Do not leave a severely impaired person with Alzheimer’s disease alone in the bathroom.
  •   Discard dangerous items from the medicine chest.  Store medications (prescription and nonprescription) in a locked cabinet.  Supervise the taking of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
  •   Remove cleaning products from under the sink and lock away.
  •   Install night lights between bedroom and bathroom.
  •   Monitor the use of heating pads, which can cause burns.  Keep controls out of reach.  Avoid using electric blankets.  Avoid space heaters and portable fans.
  •   Place bed against wall for increased security or place mattress on floor if necessary to prevent falls.
  •   Use an infant intercom to alert you to any noises to indicate need for help.
  •   Put away power tools such as drills, saws and other tools such as axes and picks.  Limit access to large equipment such as lawnmower, edger and snow blower.
  •   Lock up poisonous products such as paints and fertilizers.  Remove and lock up all fuel sources and fire starters for grills when not in use.
  •   Store care keys in a secure location not visible or accessible to the person.
  •   Lock up gates and fences… disguise outdoor locks or install deadbolts on gates.  Prune bushes and foliage well away from walkways and doorways.  Make sure outdoor lighting is adequate.
  •   Always supervise person in areas that are not enclosed.
  •   Keep steps textured to prevent falls when wet or icy.  Keep handrails in good repair.  Mark the edges of stairs with bright paint or reflective tape.  A ramp to the home may be needed instead of     using stairs.  Eliminate all uneven surfaces and obstacles such as hoses, to prevent falls.
Throughout the home:
  •   Remove poisonous plants.  Check with poison control  if needed.  
  •   Apply colored decals to large windows and sliding glass doors.
  •   Avoid clutter… it creates confusion and danger.
  •   Keep all alcohol locked in a cabinet.  Drinking alcohol can create confusion and will interact with some medications.
  •   Stairways should have a handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps and be carpeted or have safety grips.
  •   Install smoke alarms near all bedrooms and check their function and batteries regularly.
  •   When caregiver is not home, use a telephone answering service or machine and turn phone down.  The person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to take a message and may be a target for            telephone exploitation by solicitors.
  •   Check out other links on the web such as this one from the Society of Certified Senior Advisors
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