Alzheimer's Caregiving

Frequently Asked Questions

14. How can a caregiver create a safe home environment for someone with Alzheimer's?

Do the following to keep the person with Alzheimer's safe.

  • Simplify your home. Too much furniture can make it hard to move freely.
  • Get rid of clutter, such as piles of newspapers and magazines.
  • Have a sturdy handrail on your stairway. Put carpet on stairs or add safety grip strips.
  • Remove small throw rugs.
  • Put a gate across the stairs if the person has balance problems.

(Watch the videos on this page to learn more about keeping a person with Alzheimer's safe at home. To enlarge the videos, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner of the video screen. To reduce the videos, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

Reduce the chance of falls.

Make sure the person with Alzheimer's has good floor traction for walking or pacing. Good traction lowers the chance that people will slip and fall. Three factors affect traction:

  1. The type of floor surface. A smooth or waxed floor of tile, linoleum, or wood may be a problem for the person with Alzheimer's. Think about how you might make the floor less slippery.
  2. Spills. Watch carefully for spills and clean them up right away.
  3. Shoes. Buy shoes and slippers with good traction. Look at the bottom of the shoe to check the type of material and tread.

Add the following to your home if you don't already have them in place.

  • smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in or near the kitchen and in all bedrooms
  • emergency phone numbers (ambulance, poison control, doctors, hospital, etc.) and your home address near all telephones
  • safety knobs on the stove and a shut-off switch
  • childproof plugs for unused electrical outlets.

Lock up or remove the following from your home.

  • all prescription and over-the-counter medicines
  • alcohol
  • cleaning products, dangerous chemicals such as paint thinner, matches, etc.
  • poisonous plants—contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 to find out which houseplants are poisonous
  • all guns and other weapons, scissors, and knives
  • gasoline cans and other dangerous items in the garage.

For more information, see Keeping the Person with AD Safe. You can order a print copy of Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease by calling 1-800-222-2225.