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Caregiver Training Part V: Home Safety
Son explains that his father walks around everywhere in the home and gets into everything, causing a safety issues. Son feels though he needs to watch his father constantly or else he will get into trouble.
Common response: Father walks into the kitchen, grabs moldy bread, knocks food over in the fridge, grabs a knife and tries to cut cheese. He then turns the stove on high and then rummages through different cabinets and pulls out a pan. Pots and pans fall out of the cabinets almost hitting him and make a loud noise. Son hears the noise and comes into the kitchen, yelling at his father for the mess he has made in the kitchen.
Expert explanation: As dementia progresses, a person’s abilities and judgment diminish, making the home a potentially dangerous place. There are various home safety modifications that can be put in place such as using child safety locks to store away medications and sharp objects, throwing away expired foods, removing or covering stove and oven knobs, and having the poison control phone number nearby in case of an emergency. It takes effort and creative problem solving, but in the end, safety modifications can keep your loved one safe at home.
Recommended response: Son implements safety measures in the kitchen by throwing away expired foods, locking knives and pots and pans in the cabinets, placing covers over the stove and oven knobs, and organizes the refrigerator so it is neat and organized. Father comes into the kitchen and tries to open the cabinets and turn on the stove but cannot. He ends up finding grapes in the refrigerator and starts to eat them.
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The project described was supported by Grant Number 1C1CMS330982 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies. This project was funded, in part, by the Archstone Foundation.