Alzheimer’s disease is a complex illness that necessitates a lot of structural modifications and lifestyle changes. Certain parts of a patient’s home may present new safety risks, and they are likely to develop additional accessibility needs if they don’t already have them. Without experience as a caregiver, it can be difficult to know which upgrades are worth investing in and what you can do to make the biggest difference in their overall quality of life. If your loved one has received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, read on to find out what home improvements might be able to provide assistance.
The bathroom can be a dangerous place, especially as your loved one progresses through the stages of Alzheimer’s. Look for a shower installation company that can help make your bathroom safer. At a minimum, you should switch to an elevated toilet seat, install grab bars in strategic locations, and purchase nonslip mats for the floor. Slips and falls can be extremely dangerous and have life-threatening consequences, so creating a safe bathroom environment should be one of your highest priorities.
Many homes aren’t designed to be accessible, which can be a major problem for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. Some examples of accessibility-based modifications include doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, lowered countertop height, and ensuring that your loved one is able to reach fixtures like light switches and electrical outlets. You can refer to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act for more information on accessibility guidelines in the United States.
There are also some simpler improvements you can make on your own. Labels can make a big difference for many people with Alzheimer’s. You can use words or pictures to indicate what items are in specific cabinets or put the steps for your loved one’s morning routine on a note in the bathroom. Putting up pictures of family and displaying keepsakes connected to happy memories can also help create a positive and familiar environment.
If you’re not familiar with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s a progressive neurological disorder that causes the brain to atrophy, which leads to mass cell death. It’s the most common cause of dementia both in the United States and around the world. All forms of dementia are marked by a continuous decline in cognitive, behavioral, and social skills. The earliest Alzheimer symptoms are usually memory-related, like forgetting recent events and conversations. In the later stages of the disease, people with Alzheimer’s disease develop severe memory impairment and are unable to perform everyday tasks.
As of right now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. There are several medications and lifestyle adjustments that can help with alleviating symptoms and slowing down progression, but there is currently no way to stop or reverse the disease process in the brain. You can also explore options for clinical trials and studies that your loved one may qualify for, if they’re interested in experimental treatments. Psychiatric medications can also be useful for managing the behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Finding out a loved one has received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating. However, you shouldn’t allow yourself to feel hopeless, as there are many ways to help. People with Alzheimer’s disease typically need home modifications to eliminate as many safety risks as possible and make their homes more accessible. Incorporating personal touches into home decor, like family photos or souvenirs, can go a long way toward fostering a comfortable environment. Even though there isn’t a cure yet, you can do a lot to improve your loved one’s quality of life and delay the progression of the disease.