Keeping safe at home

Advice for keeping safe at home when you have dementia, including tips for those who live alone and with others. 

Keeping safe is important for people with dementia who want to remain living at home, and for friends and family members who are supporting them. 

How to keep safe at home when you have dementia

You may find you’re having difficulties keeping safe. For example, you might sometimes forget to turn the lights or oven off, or find it harder to use stairs. By making some changes, you can stay safe in your home and enjoy your independence for longer.

You might need to think a little bit more about how you do some things. There may be equipment or technology you can get or buy to help you with specific problems. 

Where else can I get support to keep safe at home?

Your GP or staff at the memory clinic or social services can also give advice on staying safe at home. They may refer you to an occupational therapist, who can help you to think about how to do some of the things around the house that you’re finding difficult. 

For detailed information on aspects of living safely at home, take a look at:

General tips on keeping safe at home

There are many different aspects to living safely at home. If you rent your home, your landlord, letting agent, local council or housing association should be able to help you make it safe. The following list is a good place to start:

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers near the telephone. You could also store important names and numbers on the phone, so you don’t need to dial the numbers. 

  • Keep other useful information to hand, including notes of where the following things are: 

    • stopcock (valve for turning off and on the cold water)

    • gas and electricity meters

    • fuses

    • first aid box.

  • Get household appliances (such as your washing machine, fridge, boiler and oven) checked regularly.

  • Keep paperwork relating to guarantees, warranties and maintenance such as servicing the boiler, and store them in a safe place. Whoever arranges this maintenance should remember to: 

    • use a qualified electrician for electrical appliances

    • use a Gas Safe registered engineer for gas appliances. 

  • If you have an open fire, have your chimneys swept once a year, or more often if you burn wood. 

  • Get carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms fitted. Test these once a week.

  • Use timers for plugs, lights and heating systems to turn them on and off automatically.

  • Make sure there is good lighting throughout the home. Sensor lights can help ensure rooms and corridors are well-lit as you get close to them. These will turn off after some time if you leave the room.

  • Help to prevent falls by removing anything you could trip over, such as rugs and loose cables. Have grab rails fitted on the stairs and in the bathroom. 

  • Use a personal alarm to alert other people if you fall. 

Getting help to keep safe

Talk to your family and friends about what help they could offer. 

They may be able to help you to stay safe by checking in on you now and again, or helping you out with things you find difficult – for example, getting things from high shelves or an attic or loft.

You could also think about leaving a spare set of keys with someone close to you in case someone needs to get in the house. 

You could have a key safe fitted to an outside wall instead. This contains a set of house keys and is opened by a code. You can give this code to trusted people (for example, carers who visit) so they can get in easily if you need them to. 

Look at other useful organisations that can assist you with staying safe at home, including technology and equipment, different types of engineers, fire safety and Neighbourhood Watch. 

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