20 Valuable Tips on Keeping Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients Safe

If you are helping to look after a loved one who is struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are a number of responsibilities that you will need to take on as their care provider. Whether they are living in your home, their own home or even and assisted-living community, when it comes to looking after someone with this disease, safety is always of the utmost concern.  Individuals with dementia and memory loss are much more likely to fall, get lost or hurt themselves than other seniors their age, so in order to prevent serious injuries from happening, here are 20 practical tips you can utilize to keep your loved one safe.

  1. Install shower chairs and grab bars in the bathroom and make sure that there are plenty of non-skid mats in the shower and on the bathroom floor.
  2. Use childproof latches on drawers and cabinets to limit your loved one’s access to potentially dangerous electronics or sharp items like knives.
  3. Put child-proof locks on any medications and make sure that you or a caregiver is the only one administering medication to your loved one.
  4. Remove door locks from bathroom doors to prevent your loved one from accidentally locking themselves inside.
  5. Set the thermostat on your hot water heater below 120 F, it will prevent your loved one from accidentally burning themselves in the shower or while washing their hands.
  6. Install safety nobs on the stove.
  7. Disconnect the garbage disposal to prevent accidents.
  8. Take away any artificial fruit or food-shaped magnets from the home—they can be confusing.
  9. Make sure to lock away cleaning products and alcohol to avoid accidental consumption.
  10. Keep scissors in a locked drawer.
  11. Put alarms on the doors and windows when your loved one sleeps in case they wander.
  12. Install night lights throughout the home so that your loved one can see should they wander in the middle of the night.
  13. Put a baby monitor in your loved one’s room if they are staying in your home, so you can hear them if they need help.
  14. Avoid clutter in the home and make sure your loved one has a clear path throughout the residence so they don’t fall.
  15. Put a decal or sticker on all glass windows and doors so your loved one isn’t confused.
  16. Lock all vehicles at all times and make sure to hide the keys for any automobile.
  17. Keep the stairs safe, they can be confusing. Cover them in non-skid strips, mark them with bright tape and make sure there are always handrails available for your loved ones.
  18. Always make sure smoke alarms are working in your loved one’s home. If they have a hearing problem, invest in a smoke alarm with a bright flashing light.
  19. Mark the cabinets in the home where your loved one has access to things like cups and water, to prevent confusion.
  20. Cover all unused electrical outlets with childproof plugs.

While some of these tips may seem unnecessary, it is important to remember that those with dementia can change daily. While your loved one may not wander today, tomorrow they could start, so the more precautions you take, the better for everyone involved.

How to Make a Home Safe for Seniors
Home Safety and Alzheimer’s

Can Pets Get Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease has become one of the most common and most devastating illnesses to impact our world today. With millions of adults currently battling this condition, more and more new questions are being raised about Alzheimer’s disease each and every day. One of the latest questions to come about regarding Alzheimer’s disease has to do with its ability to impact animals. As many pet owners know, common human conditions such as diabetes and cancer are known to impact pets, which is why many wonder if pets can also fall victim to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

As more and more veterinarian medical research is being done on domestic dogs and cats, some surprising information on our pets and their ability to develop certain health issues has emerged. In fact, many studies show that now that dogs and cats are living longer in their safe and controlled home environments, they are also living long enough to develop certain cognitive dysfunction, such as dementia. This has been an interesting study as most animals in the wild wouldn’t be able to survive in their natural habitats with these cognitive challenges, yet because pet owners are able to take such great care of their animals, they are often able to survive with what we as humans would classify as dementia.

So, how do you know if your senior dog or cat has dementia? Well many of the signs and signals are actually very close to the signs that you would notice in humans. If you have a senior cat, here are some signs to look for:

  • Erratic behavior
  • Begging for attention for no reason
  • Wailing without wanting anything
  • Begging for food when the bowl is full
  • Sleeping more than normal
  • Not sleeping at all
  • Wandering aimlessly

If you have a senior dog, here are a few signs to look for:

  • Forgetting about house training
  • Acting disoriented or walking in circles
  • Staring into corners or at the wall
  • Sleeping more during the day and less at night
  • Pacing
  • Wandering aimlessly
  • Forgetting trick
  • Getting stuck behind furniture
  • Struggling to find their bed, crate or the door

While the research on animal dementia is so new, there is also very little available in terms of possible treatments for animals with this condition. Also, much like human Alzheimer’s, there is no actual cure for the cognitive disease. The good news is, there are a few things that pet owners can do in order to keep their pet’s brains as healthy as possible and to help them enjoy the best quality of life they can. Keeping your dog’s brain active in old age with training and new tricks is a great start. You can also add antioxidants, L-carnitine and fatty acids to their diets. The more stimulated and active your pet can stay the better.

The more you know about animal Alzheimer’s, the better prepared you will be to look for these signs of issues as your beloved pet starts to age, so you can get them the care they deserve to live their best life possible.


How to Find Nursing Home Safety Ratings

When it comes to finding a nursing home for your aging parent or loved one, nothing is as important as finding a place where your loved one will be as safe as possible. There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to finding a nursing home for your parent, and safety should always be a top priority. The good news is, if you want to find nursing home safety ratings for different living communities in your area, there is an entire system designed to help make learning more about these nursing homes a breeze.

The first and most important thing to know is how the star rating system works.

The star-rating for any nursing home ranges between 1 and 5 stars. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calculates these ratings based on three different categories:

  • Health inspections
  • Staffing
  • Quality of Resident Care Measures

A five-star rating is the best safety rating a nursing home can get. The official Medicare website will not only give a specific safety rating, but they will also give an overall rating for every nursing home so you can get a better idea of what type of facility you will be sending your loved one to.

If you are looking for more information about the rating system on nursing homes, Medicare.gov, the official U.S. government site for Medicare has an expansive resource available on Medicare and Medicaid services as well as nursing home safety ratings.

Now that you have a better understanding of what the star rating means, you can visit a number of websites and online resources for information about their official rating. The most reliable way to search for nursing homes and to learn more about their rating is to do so right through the Medicare website at https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html?. Here you can type in your location and learn more about nursing homes in your area and what type of safety rating that they have.

If you have questions regarding the safety rating of a specific nursing home you are considering, you should also be able to ask them about their star-rating. Any nursing home with a good star-rating will be more than happy to provide you with the information on their own rating to prove their competence.

Finding the right nursing home for your senior parent or loved one is a big responsibility and is one that should be taken seriously. Make sure you take the time to look up all of the safety information about any nursing home you may be considering so you can rest assured that your loved one will be living somewhere that will take great care of them and their individual needs.

Cost Trends in Nursing Home and Assisted Living Care

There are so many families today who have an aging senior loved one in their family who requires some type of care. This is very common for countless families and is a big decision for everyone involved. When it comes to discussing senior care, especially nursing home and assisted living services, one of the biggest questions that tends to arise is “how much is this going to cost?”

Many families who are considering nursing homes and assisted living communities have never had any experience with these types of care facilities before and may not know how much they should or could cost. Even if you have had to consider nursing home care in the past, this market is rapidly changing and costs are likely much different today than they were even a few years ago. With this in mind, here are some facts about what you can expect with senior nursing home and assisted living care trends in 2017.

Important Trends to Understand About Senior Cost of Living

The senior living market is changing rapidly, which means if you are consider care for a parent or loved one, you need to be abreast of these changes, even if you aren’t sure if you will need care or not. Here are a few important facts to understand about the senior care market in the year 2017.

  • The consumer cost of senior living is growing rapidly—faster than inflation.
  • Although senior care is growing fast, it is slower than health care costs and home sale prices.
  • In 2016, the cost growth rate of senior care actually slowed in the southern U.S., but it grew everywhere else. Just because costs are growing or slowing in one area of the country, it doesn’t mean the same is true of your area of the country.
  • Cities with high cost of living can expect higher senior care costs—this shouldn’t come as a surprise to most consumers.
  • The cost of senior living is changing at a rate similar to the housing rental markets.
  • The average median growth rate for senior care from 2012-2016 was about $62 per year.

What are the Average National Monthly Costs for Care?

The nursing home and assisted living market is changing rapidly, and has been for the past few years. As this market continues to expand and change so has the pricing of care. According to Genworth Financial, the current average monthly costs for senior care in 2017 is as follows:

  • Homemaker services- $3,994 per month
  • Home Health Aide- $4,099 per month
  • Adult Day Health Care- $1,517 per month
  • Assisted Living Facilities- $3,750 per month
  • Semi-Private Room Nursing Home- $7,148 per month
  • Private room Nursing Home- $8,121 per month

Of course, this number can change depending on the individual community and the area you are looking in, but in 2017 these are the average prices that consumers should expect to pay for their care.

The Basics of Memory Care

There are so many families today who find themselves in a similar situation—they discover their loved one is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and they need to help them get the care they deserve, only to find out they don’t really know much about memory care at all. This is such a common occurrence among families, as many families considering memory care are dealing with this situation for the first time.

If you are considering memory care for your loved one, but don’t know much about what it entails, here is a basic rundown of what memory care includes and what every family should understand about this type of care before they find a facility for their loved one.

  • Memory care facilities are a special type of assisted living community meant specifically for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory-related diseases.
  • Memory care offers more than traditional assisted living services but still includes the basics like housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation services and daily assistance with everyday activities.
  • Just like other assisted living communities, Memory Care services can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual person so they can get the specific care they need, yet still live as independently as they are safely able to.
  • Daily activities are a big part of memory care, and they are designed to help those with memory-challenges to keep their minds sharp and active and to reconnect with their favorite hobbies or interests.
  • You will find that in most memory care units, the residents are quite busy during the day and they are on a very set schedule with their meals and activities, this is designed to help limit confusion for seniors with memory-issues and to help make sure their minds are staying as active as possible.
  • Many general assisted living communities will have a Memory Care unit or floor inside of them. This is because so many seniors today struggle with dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory issues and will likely need to be transferred to this type of care at some point.
  • You will find most Memory Care units are designed specifically with safe wandering in mind. They may have a circular design, extra lighting or enhanced security systems. This is because around 60% of individual with Alzheimer’s wander.
  • You will typically find Memory Care rooms won’t have the same in-room amenities as traditional assisted living suites. While they may still have an apartment set-up, they likely won’t have kitchenettes for safety reasons. Many Memory Care rooms are small rooms or suites or roommate style.

If you are considering memory care for your loved one, the more you know about this type of care service, the better. Memory care can be a great asset to any senior struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s and while it can be difficult to move your family member to somewhere new, these care facilities are trained to make sure your loved one gets the care they need and deserve.