Using technology and making changes to your home

If you are living with dementia, you can use technology and make physical changes in your home to keep safe. 

Making physical changes to your home

When you are living with dementia, it can help to make some changes to your home.

You might not need to, or be able to, make any big changes right now (such as building a more accessible shower), but 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

  • adapting your bathroom

  • installing ramps

  • extra heating

  • rearranging or reducing your 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 they can provide will depend on what you need.

If you are renting your home, you will need to speak to your landlord or letting agent first. An occupational therapist can help you with the next steps to take.

Using technology to keep safe at home

There are many ways that devices and technology (known as ‘assistive technology’) can help you at home.

Examples that you might want to think about include:

  • 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. Locking cooker valves are also available free of charge from all main gas suppliers. See ‘Cooking’ for more information
  • water isolation devices and flood detectors – see  ‘Water’ for more information
  • 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 can be linked to telecare systems, and some are available from the Daily living aids section of Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop.

What is telecare?

Telecare is the name for electronic systems or equipment that allow carers, friends or family members to care for a person remotely (from elsewhere). 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.

An alarm will then be raised either at an alarm company or with someone you trust, so that they can help you. Many local authorities offer a community alarm service. See 'useful organisations' to find your local authority and see what systems are available to you.  

If possible, you should buy equipment from a company  that belongs to a trade association, such as the British Healthcare Trades Association (see ‘Useful organisations’).

Its members are signed up to provide good standards of customer service. This can give you reassurance that you’re buying the correct products at the right price. Equipment that conforms to European safety standards will have a CE kitemark. You may also see a BSI mark on some products. This means they have been tested and approved by the British Standards Institution.