Home Safety Tips
The actions of a person with dementia can be unpredictable. As dementia worsens, safety may become a concern. It is important to change your environment to meet your loved one's needs, since changing his/her behavior his not possible. This page offers general home safety tips to prevent injury.
Before reading the content on this page, it may be beneficial to review the following video(s) from the Office of Rural Health (ORH).
Length: 04:11 (Link opens to new page)
Harold is now in the moderate stage of dementia. He has trouble walking and slips and falls on an area rug. Margaret makes several changes around the house.
Changing your Environment to Meet Dementia Needs
As dementia worsens, your loved one may need more supervision. It can be difficult to decide when it is no longer safe to leave your loved one home alone. You can get advice about this decision from your loved one’s health care provider.
Changing your environment usually works best for safety rather than trying to change the behavior of a person with dementia.
Creating a safe environment can increase the independence of your loved one.
You may want to identify an area of your home that only you can access. You can secure dangerous objects and materials in this area. This can also be where you go to enjoy some privacy. Having quiet personal space can benefit you as a caregiver and help you provide better care for your loved one.
Home Safety Tips That May be Useful Throughout Your Home
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers with your contact information near all of the phones in your home.
- Have a list of your loved one’s health problems and medications in an easily accessible location.
- Install smoke alarms near all of the bedrooms and be sure that they are all working correctly. Sometimes fire departments of community programs may provide free assistance with smoke alarms.
- Install secure locks on doors and windows. It may be helpful to place them higher than normal but still within your reach.
- Keep a spare key at a neighbor’s house or with you in case your loved one mistakenly locks you out.
- Avoid using extension cords unless they are safely secured to the baseboards.
- Keep unused outlets covered with childproof plugs.
- Remove throw rugs as they may increase the risk of falls.
- Put red tape around heating devices such as floor vents or radiators to help prevent the care recipient from touching them.
- Have good lighting, especially in stairways. It is a good idea to have a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs and to have at least one handrail.
- Keep medications locked and out of reach. Make sure they are also labeled clearly with all of their instructions.
- Keep all alcohol locked away.
- Avoid clutter. It can be a fall hazard and perhaps overwhelm and confuse your loved one.
- Remove all weapons from the home or safety proof them and keep them locked away.
- Lock away power tools and machinery in the garage, workroom or basement.
US Department of Veterans Affairs
VA values your commitment as a partner in our pledge to care for those who have "borne the battle." We have several support and service options designed with you in mind. The programs are available both in and out of your home to help you care for yourself and the Veteran you love.
- Caregiver Support Network
- VA Caregiver Support Line: 1-855-260-3274
- Additional Tips & Tools: Managing Medicines, Talking with your Provider, Caring for Oneself, Disaster Planning, Staying Organized, Moving Around Safely
Geriatrics and Extended Care Services (GEC) is committed to optimizing the health and well-being of Veterans with multiple chronic conditions, life-limiting illness, frailty or disability associated with chronic disease, agining or injury. This VA site reviews information on delirium, dementia and Alzheimer's care, decision making, home and community based services, and advance care planning, among many other important topics that may be important for you as a caregiver.
Veteran's Crisis Line Phone: 1-800-273-8255 (Veterans Press 1)
The VA does not endorse the following resources or guarantee that their information is 100% accurate. However, you may be able to find some helpful information by visiting the following pages:
Alzheimer's Association: Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiving Center
Find out more information on Home Safety Tips.
References: Information adapted from Alzheimer’s Association and Office of Rural Health
If you have any questions or concerns, contact us.