· Self-help and support groups. These include a network of people with similar problems. These groups usually meet regularly without a therapist or counselor. There are support groups for people with Alzheimer's disease and also for their families and caregivers.
Alzheimer's Disease:Creating a Safer Environment.
~Adapting Your Environment ~
Because Alzheimer's disease can make daily activities -- including eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and using the toilet -- more difficult, it's important to modify the living environment to make it as easy as possible for the person with Alzheimer's to live and function.
What Are Some General Safety Measures?
Some practical things which will help create a safer environment include:
· Have emergency numbers -- police, fire, poison control, and a neighbor's phone number -- readily available in case of emergency. It is probably best to write these numbers on a sticker and put it on the phone receiver.
· Have at least one phone located where it is always accessible. Keep a cordless phone in your pocket. This is especially important if you fall and can't get up to use the phone.
· Make sure smoke detectors work properly.
· Avoid using space heaters and electric blankets; these are fire hazards.
Consider installing a medical alert or personal alarm system for emergencies. Professional systems link directly to a representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a person has an immediate medical problem, he or she simply pushes a button on a special device worn around the wrist or neck, and a signal for help is sent immediately.
You should take a good look around your home, especially noting the physical layout and services that are available for support. Some people can continue to live independently if they have complete support services. If you care for someone with Alzheimer's disease, it is important to make sure that they can use the stove or oven safely and be safe in the bathroom -- particularly using the bathtub or shower. A full home safety evaluation can be performed by therapists and social service workers who are professionally trained to look for potential hazards.
Bathroom. The bathroom can be a dangerous place for a person with Alzheimer's disease. As the person's ability to function decreases, it may become necessary to install grab bars in the shower or fold-down shower seats. Also, be sure to use non-slip floor mats and slip-resistant appliqués or tiles in the shower or tub. …to be continued