Bedroom Safety for Someone With Alzheimer's
Guard rails on the bed may sometimes be helpful supports when getting in and out of bed, but may also add to the risk of falls if the person attempts to climb over them. Consult with a physical therapist about the best way to use them, if at all, for the person in your care. A bed cane may turn out to be a safer alternative. It can offer support and increase balance. It is like a grab bar, with a wooden base that fits between the mattress and the box spring.
Night lights should be placed so that a person can find his way from the bedroom to the bathroom. Consider ''clamp-on'' lamps attached to the bed or wall lamps, which are less likely to fall over and cause a fire than lamps on a night table. Check for types that do not get hot.
- Place an alarm mat at the side of the bed, use an infrared sensor beam for sounding an alarm when a person crosses it, or attach a monitor to clothing.
- For anyone who is a wanderer, lower the bed height by removing casters, box springs, or legs; place the dresser at the end of the bed.
- Put in a monitor to listen to activity in the room of the person in your care. (Most are inexpensive and are portable.)
- Make the bedroom bright and cheerful.
- Make sure enough heat (65° F at night) and fresh air are available.
- Provide a firm mattress.
- Provide TV and radio.
- Think about having a fish tank for fun and relaxation. Be sure it is secure and the person in your care cannot knock it over by accident.
- Use throwaway pads to protect furniture.
- Install blinds or shades that darken the room.
- Place closet rods 48" from the floor.
- Provide a chair for dressing.
- Keep a flashlight at the bedside table.
- Provide a bedside commode with a 4" foam pad on the seat for comfort.
- Hang a bulletin board with pictures of family and friends where it can be easily seen.
- Provide a sturdy chair or table next to the bed for help getting in and out of bed.
- Make the bed 22" high and place it securely against a wall. Or use lockable wheels. This will allow the person to get up and down safely.
- Use blocks to raise a bed's height, but be sure to make them steady so they don't move.