Many people with early-stage dementia can manage living alone. But evaluating their home for ways to make it safer can help. Try making these minor changes in their home to increase safety:
- Get rid of unused items and extra furniture. If there are things they no longer use (such as clothing, appliances, decorations, and furniture) that are filling up the home, now is the time to remove them.
- Remove throw rugs. Move electrical cords and other things the person might trip over. Falls can cause injury and disability and make living alone hard. For more fall prevention tips, such as using handrails, read Fall-Proofing Your Home.
- Install an automatic shut-off switch on the stove. If necessary, have the stove disabled. Instead, use a microwave or electric device with an automatic shut-off, such as a slow cooker or rice cooker, to heat up food.
- Consider safety devices. Safety devices you may want to consider include fall monitors, emergency call buttons, and GPS tracking systems. As a caregiver, you can help the person buy the right device and set it up.
- Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed in or near the kitchen and all bedrooms. Check that the batteries are working. Set reminders to check the batteries every 6 months
Learn more about living alone during the early stages of dementia on the NIA website.