Staying safe as a person with dementia

There are many ways a person with dementia can adapt the home to make it safe to live in alone. 

How can I stay safe as a person with dementia who lives alone?

There are lots of ways you can set up your home to help you stay independent, physically active and safe. 

This is more important when you live alone. You may not have someone around who can help you if something goes wrong. If you have problems with your memory, you may forget to do things, such as turning the gas off.

By making some of the small changes listed below you will be able to stay independent and living alone for longer. You might not feel that you need to do all of these things now, but it can be a good idea to put things in place before you need them.

Tips for staying safe when living alone

The following tips can help you stay safe when living alone:

Improve your home environment

  • Have carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors fitted. Contact your local fire service to arrange a free home fire safety check.
  • Simple things like improving lighting and removing any clutter – especially items that are unused or could cause you to trip (for example loose rugs) – can make your home safer.
  • Leave a light on in the bathroom at night. Night lights or lights connected to motion sensors that come on when you move about may help. You can buy these from the Alzheimer’s Society online shop.

Consider using technology at home

  • Think about technology that could help you. For example, there are ‘shut-off’ devices that turn off the gas or electricity after a set amount of time. You can also get alarms that you wear as pendants or bracelets that you can set off if you become worried or have a fall. These will call an operator who will be able to help you.
  • Telecare, a remotely operated care system, links sensors around your home to a call centre by a telephone line. The sensors monitor movement in your home and alert the centre if things go wrong. For example, sensors can detect if you fall. An occupational therapist can assist if you think equipment or adaptations might help.

Prepare for emergency situations

  • Leave a set of house keys with a neighbour you trust. Or you could install a key safe (a safe on the outside of your house that can only be accessed by entering the correct code).
  • Keep a list of emergency telephone numbers by the phone. You could also save them on your phone to make it easier.
  • Find out what schemes are available in your area so that your wishes are known in an emergency. Examples are MedicAlert®, Message in a Bottle and ReSPECT – see our useful resource section for contact details.
Making your home dementia-friendly

Read our booklet for more tips and advice on making your home a safe place to live.

Download it Order a free copy