Safety for someone with dementia covers a lot of ground. There’s her physical safety when it comes to normal household activities, but she may also have mobility issues that create additional concerns. It’s a delicate balancing act to help your elder to remain safe but to continue to have a solid quality of life as well.
Remember Who She Is
Your aging family member, with or without dementia, is the person that she is. Her personality, her likes, her dislikes, and more are all established. She may not react in the same ways that she always has, but she is still the same person. What was important to her before her diagnosis is likely still important. She still needs a stimulating and engaging environment, so it’s important to keep all of this in mind.
Give Her a Purpose
There are still plenty of activities that your aging adult can do, both on her own and with you and other family members. Another option is to modify activities to make them as safe as possible. Your senior can still cook, for instance, especially with tools that help to turn off appliances automatically. She could also take over part of the process, such as handling the mixing while you chop ingredients.
Reduce Dangers, if Possible
Reducing the dangers around your elderly family member is one thing, but completely sterilizing her experience with the world is another issue entirely. You’re not going to be able to completely remove all of the dangerous situations from your senior’s existence, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the obvious. Secure chemicals and large kitchen knives somewhere safe. Use safety and assistive devices wherever possible. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t find every single potential issue.
Provide a Helping Hand
The ultimate solution is to offer assistance wherever it makes sense without taking away your elder’s autonomy. This is where elder care providers can help, too. Elder care providers can be there to be that support for your senior when you aren’t able to be there. You’ll know that your elderly family member isn’t on her own trying to do things that aren’t as safe for her to do as they might have been in the past.
Talk to your elderly family member’s doctor about what she can and can’t safely do at this stage of her dementia. It’s important that you also realize that her abilities can change over time. So what is safe for her to do today may not be as safe in a few weeks’ time.