Making changes to your home

If you are living with dementia, here are some things you may want to think about changing in your home. 

Making changes to your home

When you are living with dementia, you may find things harder as the condition progresses. However, you may be able to stay independent and reduce your risk of harm by making changes in your home.

Even if you don’t need to make any structural changes at present (eg building a more accessible shower), it is worth thinking about what you might need in the future. An occupational therapist can advise you on things such as:

  • fitting grab rails
  • installing ramps
  • extra heating
  • rearranging or reducing furniture to create a safer living space.

If you do need to make major changes to your home, you may be able to get some funding from your local authority (council). The amount of funding depends on your needs. The occupational therapist can advise you on the next steps to take.

Technology

There are many devices or pieces of technology (known as ‘assistive technology’) that can help you to keep safe at home.

The following are useful devices you might consider having in the home.

  • Automatic ‘shut-off’ devices that can stop the gas supply if the gas has been left on, or turn off a cooker if it’s been left on.
  • Water isolation devices that can turn off a tap if it’s been left running. This can help to prevent flooding.
  • Lights that come on automatically when you move around. They can help to prevent trips and falls, especially if you get up in the night.
  • Telephone blockers that can help stop nuisance calls.

Some of these items are available from the Daily living aids section of Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop.

Telecare

Telecare is the name for electronic systems or equipment that remotely (from elsewhere) monitor a person living in their own home. They can be used to help you to stay independent and reduce the risks you face when living with dementia, especially if you live alone.

One example of a telecare device is a community alarm. This is a pendant you wear around your neck or as a wristband. You can press it if you become worried or have an accident, such as a fall. Many local authorities offer a community alarm service. You can check their website to apply for one in your area (see ‘Other resources’).

If it is possible, you should buy equipment from a company that belongs to a trade association, such as the British Healthcare Trades Association (see ‘Other resources’). Its members are signed up to a code of practice that covers standards of customer service. This means you can be sure you’re buying the correct products at the right price.

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