Preparing and Improving Your Home for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Preparing and Improving Your Home for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease: What It Is and Symptoms


Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that is often thought of as a severe form of dementia. Symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease include the loss of cognitive abilities, inparticular memory loss. Eventually, the disorder begins to interfere with the person’s daily functions and their ability to live a normal life on their own.

A patient with Alzheimer’s disease may start to display symptoms including behavioral changes including loss of usual interests or large shifts in their overall personality. They may begin to have difficulty making simple decisions that used to be easy to make. The patient will start experiencing general cognitive struggles like problems with concentration or listening comprehension. They may start to feel confused especially when it comes to issues of timing, places, and even people in their life. Simple tasks that require sequential steps– like brushing one’s teeth, for instance– suddenly become too complex to complete on their own. All Alzheimer’s patients experience both long term and short term memory loss.

Alzheimer’s and Caregiving

About 5.5 million Americans— most of them aged 65 or older– are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Because the symptoms of Alzheimer’s make it increasingly difficult (and eventually impossible) to live on one’s own, many of these people eventually have to seek 24/7 care. While some people opt to live in assisted living facilities, others move in with family or loved ones that act as a primary caregiver.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who plans to take in a friend or relative suffering from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, you have your work cut out for you. Watching someone you love and respect deteriorate mentally and physically day after day is emotionally taxing. The amount of care and attention they need as their symptoms progress increases each day. To help with the situation, many people find it necessary to make changes around the house to create a safer, more conducive environment for Alzheimer’s patients.

While some people are lucky to have enough disposable income to care for a loved one, most have to make some significant financial changes to accomodate in-home care. Talk with your loved one’s insurance agency to see where they can help cover any costs. Additionally, there are grants available for people with disabilities or their caretakers to make necessary home modifications.

Preparing a Home for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Set up their own private room where they can find peace and quiet.
  • Make sure their room has direct access to a bathroom or at the very least choose a room for them where a bathroom is nearby.
  • Keep their room free of potential safety hazards: sharp corners, heavy knick-knacks, glass top tables, etc…
  • If your home has multiple floors, set up their room and all necessities on the first story.
  • Provide them with plenty of pictures and other mementos that can stimulate their emotions and mind.
  • Keep hazardous chemicals out of reach. Cleaning products, pesticides, and other poisons your normally stash in their bathroom should be locked up or moved to another area of the house.
  • Install a handrail and bench in the shower or tub to ensure safe bathing.
  • Put safety ramps over any stairs or steps in the house they might use. Make sure the ramps are covered in a non-slip surface and have sturdy handrails.
  • Keep knives and other sharp tools in the kitchen locked in a drawer.
  • Put safety covers over stove knobs, especially if you have a gas range.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder associated with dementia. Over time, people with Alzheimer’s disease lose the ability to live on their own. While some patients move into care facilities, others rely on loved ones to act as in-home caregivers. Caregiving for a person with Alzheimer’s is taxing– both emotionally and financially. Making modifications around the house for an Alzheimer’s patient can make the job easier while keeping the loved one safer and more comfortable in their environment.


About the author: After her Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Lydia Chan struggled to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She founded as an online resource for fellow caregivers and seniors. In her spare time, Lydia writes articles about a range of caregiving topics.