Minnesota winters can be long, especially for our senior loved ones or those who live with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia. Whether living independently in their own home or in a local senior living community, it’s important to make sure our loved ones are safe. HealthStar Home Health is dedicated to make strong communities and families by enabling individuals of all ages to live more independent and fulfilling lives. Ensuring the home is a safe place is just one step toward that.

Although an individual may be living with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, it does not mean that person is not able to live on their own. In fact, many people experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s still live in the comfort of their own home. However, as the symptoms progress it is necessary to check in more often and make some safety changes and updates to their home. Giving the home a complete safety inspection, including equipment such as the furnace and water heater, is a good place to begin. Look for possible risks such as:

  • Door locks – check all locks to make sure they are in working order and install locks on doors to prevent access to certain rooms or near a stairway. Make it difficult for the person to find these locks by installing them at the top of the door.
  • Safety devices –routinely inspect all fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition and have new batteries installed. Keep an easy to read list of emergency phone numbers, such as police, fire, hospital, and family members, visible at all times.
  • Lighting – make sure the home is well lit, especially walkways often used, to reduce the chance of falling or becoming disoriented.
  • Sidewalks and stairways – ensure the stairway area is clear of loose rugs, has a sturdy hand rail and the sidewalks are shoveled routinely and free of ice.

There are other things to keep a watch for that we may not always think of:

  • Proper prescription management with seniors is becoming more and more challenging. Juggling the daily dosing schedule is confusing and difficult for many, which eventually leads to adverse drug mishaps including hospitalizations and unintentional overdoses. HealthStar Home Health recognizes this growing issue and provides assistance with medication through our Home Health Care services.
  • Performing a quick check-up on the senior loved one’s mobility equipment will ensure proper working order, encourage correct use of equipment, as well as prevent falls or tripping when in use. Make sure the brakes on the walker are in tip-top shape and if not, the fix is quick and easy. Will an ice cane tip help maneuver the icy Minnesota sidewalks this winter? If so, this is a simple attachment that is quick to install.
  • Making sure your senior loved one is eating healthy, exercising and has a sound mind is very important. There are typical age-related changes we all experience as we age, but the changes experienced by a person with Alzheimer’s is much more extreme, advanced and happen more often than a typical “forgetful moment”. Early detection is key, so if you or a loved one are noticing changes and symptoms, don’t ignore them! Depression, anxiety and even sundowning are all common symptoms to be aware of and watch for, especially at this time of year. There may be treatment available for all these symptoms as well as clinical studies, so make an appointment with your primary physician right away to discuss the health options of your senior loved ones.

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming and difficult it can be to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia and offers a comprehensive and effective Alzheimer’s and dementia home care program in our Alzheimer’s Whisperer program. This care program is a unique and effective approach to support those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their family. For additional information on the amazing home caregiving services we offer or the service areas you can find us, visit our website at www.healthstarhomehealth.net.

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