Keeping Someone With Alzheimer’s Safe Wherever They Are

When you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel a constant sense of fear for their safety. Due to their diminishing memory, they may hurt themselves or get lost. They may get agitated when they are confused or forget where they are or who the people around them are. You may feel you cannot protect them, but you are not ready to place them in a long-term care facility.

Here are a couple of ideas to help you keep your loved one safe when they have Alzheimer’s disease.

Understand what is happening.

The Alzheimer’s brain is complicated, but understanding what is happening to your loved one may help you prepare for risks or changes in their behavior. Alzheimer’s causes dementia or memory loss, as well as cognitive impairment. The development of Alzheimer’s disease happens through stages as the disease progresses. While there aren’t clear-cut lines for when your loved one moves from one stage to the next, you will observe declines in their abilities and awareness. Alzheimer’s is considered a neurodegenerative disease because it progresses slowly as the plaques build up and the brain changes.

Doctors have studied the physical brain changes, neuroinflammation, and neurofibrillary tangles to better understand the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, but many doctors still don’t know. As a family member, you can learn as much as possible to help you mitigate risk factors and offer a new way of living without the constant fear of keeping your loved one safe.

Put protections in place.

Planning is critical when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. You don’t want to wait until there is an accident to take extra precautions. When you buy an RV, for example, you also buy RV warranty insurance because you know that is the best way to protect yourself financially from accidents or major breakdowns. You don’t wait until you have an accident with your RV to look into warranty insurance.

The same holds true for caring for your loved one. You don’t want to wait until a fire is started to ensure that your loved one is no longer cooking alone. When a new risk surfaces for the first time, the first step is to identify how it happened and then look for ways to prevent it. For example, if your loved one wandered away from the house while you were sleeping, you can install a door alarm that will alert you when the door is opened. If your loved one is living in a motorhome, you can also purchase RV warranty that includes roadside assistance to keep them protected. As the brain function is impacted, Alzheimer’s patients will experience more memory loss and emotional changes that will impact their behavior.

Know the expected risks.

Knowing the common risks will allow you to be proactive without being paranoid over things that likely won’t happen. For example, cooking and driving are two prevalent risks for people with Alzheimer’s disease. These are common risks because they are activities that your loved one is used to being allowed to do, so they likely still believe they can. However, they are no longer mentally able to perform these tasks without endangering themselves or others.

Many patients will protest your attempts to stop them from doing everyday tasks because a part of their brain still wants to hold on to their independence. Sometimes, this means you need to get creative in how you protect them. Alzheimer’s disease spreads through the brain, causing a progressive decline into cognitive impairment. Your loved one may resist changes because at the moment, they are not aware of their own dementia. Alzheimer’s starts gradually, so it can be well progressed before there is a definitive diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, and doctors have learned a great deal about the brain by studying the Alzheimer’s brain following the death of an Alzheimer’s patient. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are effective treatments that have been shown to slow the progression of the disease. Other common causes of dementia are traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and brain cancer.