Preparing For… The Next Season


Article Contributed by
Sandy Ahlgren
Heritage Senior Living Senior Housing Consultant

The older I get, the more I dislike the next season. You know, the season where everything is so pretty white. Many of us aren’t so fond of driving in it anymore! If you are the caregiver for a person with dementia, the job of preparing for this next season requires more tender loving care and attention.

Are the porches/decks/stairs at your house safe for people to navigate during bad weather? Is there easy access to a bucket or pail with salt to melt the walkways to prevent falls? Check to see if reflective tape or additional lighting is needed on the stairs.

We need to stop and think about a senior in our home, especially if he or she has dementia. Reasoning and problem solving may become more difficult and frustrating. We’ve all heard the terrible stories about accidentally swallowing laundry tablets. Locks can limit access to dangerous cleaners and chemicals. Be diligent about kitchen appliances—including the garbage disposal. Is your refrigerator covered with magnets? Some appear to be edible—a definite safety hazard.

Firefighting professionals warn us about portable space heaters. What if the heater tips over? Does it have a safety turn-off? Is the heater blocking anything?

When a person with dementia is left alone, he or she may become anxious about what to do in an emergency. Leave important emergency telephone numbers by the telephone. Have a calendar visible with all the appointments written to remind your loved one of the day’s events.

There isn’t just one answer for the many different scenarios in dementia. Some are comforted by family pictures while others become agitated because no one in the picture is recognizable. Paying attention to home safety can help your loved one maintain his or her independence and ease your stress of care giving.