“Mom was sitting in the garden and after sometime she walked out of the gate and was nowhere to be found”
Such stories are not uncommon and we can imagine what the scenario can become.
Ensuring the safety and security is one of the primary steps when your loved one is living with Dementia.
With dementia, carrying out the regular activities can create unsafe situations. Here are 6 things which every care giver needs to do while ensuring their loved one’s safety:
1)Personal Identification – People with dementia should always carry their identification cards which has their name, contact details and information about their condition along with them. It can either be sewed to every trouser or salwar or can be worn as a bracelet.
2) Safety Locks– Safety locks and childproof door knob covers should be installed at the main gate/door. Main gate should be locked at all times to avoid wandering out. Place bolts either in the extreme bottom or top of the door where they cannot reach easily. If you are away from home, consider installing cameras to keep a track on them. Also locks from their bathroom and bedroom should be removed to prevent them from locking themselves inside.
3) Community Help– Neighbors should be informed about your loved one’s condition so that they are aware and alert .Spare set of keys should be kept with the neighbors in case of any emergency.
4) Environment modifications: Household items which can lead to serious consequences like knives, bathroom toiletries, tools, chemicals, cleaning supplies etc should be kept hidden and locked in properly. Gardens and outside areas should be also be monitored for any hazardous objects.
5) Fire safety: Consider removing the knobs of the burners or keep the kitchen closed when not in use. Other electrical appliances of the house like geyser, iron, heating rod, oven etc should be kept out of reach from your loved one.
6) Daily activities: Special precaution should be taken to avoid accidents which occur while doing their daily activities like bathing, eating, using the restroom etc. Grab bars, non-slippery surface should be installed in the house and bathrooms. Apply adhesives to keep carpets or rugs in place or totally remove them to prevent falls.
A comprehensive safety plan becomes very important as the disease progresses, however while arranging for their safety we also have to ensure that we provide enough space to retain their independence.