The Public Health Agency (PHA), in conjunction with local councils, is offering advice on how people living with dementia can reduce their risk of having an accident in the home.
“Safety in the home is important to everyone, but living with a diagnosis of dementia can in some cases add to the concern of keeping people safe in their own home environment,” said Hilary Johnston, Regional Lead for Home Accident Prevention with the PHA.
“People with dementia should be supported and empowered to better understand the risks within the home so that they can remain independent and live well and safely with dementia in their own home for as long as possible.”
Families and carers of those living with dementia should explain clearly all the hazards within the home and ensure the person with dementia is actively involved in all discussions. All potential risks within the home should be highlighted and suitable preventative measures put in place to help reduce the occurrences of accidents in the home. Simple tips such as writing notes about turning off electrical appliances and gas cookers or having emergency phone numbers in large print beside the telephone all help in some way to reassure those living with dementia.
Free Home Safety Checks
People with dementia, and those aged over 65 years, are entitled to free home safety checks provided by Home Safety Officers from local district councils. “This is a great way to ensure homes are safe and only takes around 60 minutes to complete for a client with dementia,” said Hilary Johnston.
“The checks offer tips on all aspects of home safety. Referrals can also be provided to other services on issues like heating and home energy efficiency.”
A room-by-room inspection will be undertaken to identify potential risks, and tailored advice will be given to families of people living with dementia to make their home safer. Free home safety equipment can also be provided and referrals can be made for free smoke alarms and expert fire advice from officers in Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.
As dementia progresses, householders can also receive a home assessment from Occupational Therapists working in Health and Social Care Trusts to ensure all practical support is provided. This can include adaptations in the home – for example alarms, sensors or support rails – and aids such as mobility aids and tracking devices.
This professional and expert advice can provide families and carers with further assurance that the home environment can continue to be a safe place to live and maintain quality of life and familiar surroundings for the person living with dementia.
Find Out More
Further information on living with dementia can be accessed here.
For more information on how to avail of home safety checks please contact Environmental Health at Mid Ulster District Council on 03000 132 132.