Create a safe environment

Alzheimer's disease impairs judgment and problem-solving skills, increasing your loved one's risk of injury. To keep your loved one safe:

  • Prevent falls. Avoid scatter rugs, extension cords and any clutter that could cause your loved one to trip or fall. Install handrails or grab bars in critical areas.
  • Use locks. Install locks on cabinets that contain anything potentially dangerous, such as medicine, alcohol, guns, toxic cleaning substances, dangerous utensils and tools.
  • Check water temperature. Lower the thermostat on the hot-water heater to prevent burns.
  • Take fire safety precautions. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. If your loved one smokes, make sure he or she does so only with supervision. Make sure a fire extinguisher is accessible, and the smoke alarms have fresh batteries.

Focus on individualized care

Each person who has Alzheimer's will experience its symptoms and progression differently. Consequently, caregiving techniques need to vary. Tailor these practical tips to your loved one's individual needs.

Remember, your loved one's responses and behaviors might be different from what they used to be. Patience and flexibility — along with good self-care and the support of friends and family — can help you deal with the challenges and frustrations ahead.

May. 04, 2013 See more In-depth