Making minor modifications to your home can help create a safer and simpler environment for you to continue living independently with dementia. For example:
Create more open spaces
Get rid of unused items such as clothing, appliances, and furniture that are taking up space in your home. Paths to common places, such as corridors leading to your kitchen and bathroom(s) should be direct and free of obstacles.
Remove items to minimise fall risk
Remove or tack down carpets and rugs to prevent slippage. Remove or ensure that electrical cords and wires are tied away (along the walls or at a corner) from pathways for walking to minimise the possibility of tripping over them. Falls can cause injury and disability and make living alone inconvenient or challenging.
Install night lights in your living room, bedrooms, toilets, and/or along the hallways. Adequate lighting can help you to see better and move around safely at night. Another affordable but useful installation you can make is to make light switches easier to locate by applying glow-in-the-dark tape over them.
Use a stove which turns off automatically
Instead of using a gas stove, consider installing a time-controlled gas hob which has a digital timer that automatically cuts off the gas supply after a pre-set time is up. Read a news article by the Straits Times on gas hobs with safety features.
It is very dangerous should you forget to turn off your gas stove and leave it running. If the stove emits too much flammable gas to the environment after it is left running, a spark can easily set fire to the gas and cause a fire in the house.
Alternatively, consider using an electric stove or induction cooker which switches off automatically when it does not detect pots and pans on its surface.
Install a Home Fire Alarm Device (HFAD)
You can also install a Home Fire Alarm Device (HFAD) if your house does not already have one. The HFAD can detect an incipient fire or white smoke from unattended cooking or electrical fire within the house, and sound an alarm to alert the occupant. When one is alerted about the fire in the house, he/she can either attend to the small fire, or call 995 and escape. Find out more about HFAD.
Find the list of retailers who provide HFADs on SCDF’s website.
Install other safety devices
Other safety devices you may want to consider include GPS trackers, emergency alert buttons, and fall monitors. Ask a family or friend to help you buy the right device and set it up for you. Find out more about these devices.
The 360° Virtual Reality Dementia-Friendly HDB Home Design Guide
Visit the latest 360° Virtual Reality Dementia-Friendly HDB Home Design Guide to learn how best to modify your home based on your needs and preferences to continue living independently with dementia.