Our goal as caregivers is to create and maintain a safe and secure environment. In order to keep a loved-one with dementia safe requires us to have an awareness of potential dangers or risks – that they are often unable to recognize- and to protect them being hurt or lost.
For their overall well-being, we must ensure that they are safe from
• Physical injury
• Emotional harm
• Being bullied by other older adults
• Being socially excluded
• Feelings of fear or anxiety
Being in a safe place with Alzheimer’s means that a person doesn’t have to worry about what they say or how they say it. They are allowed to forgot things without rolling eyes. They have permission to lose their train of thought and finish a sentence before it is done. They are able to feel safe in social settings because they are not judged and no one cares if wrong words are used or or missing altogether. They feel perfectly safe to just be who they are.
Strange and eerie sounds in the middle of the night can be scary to any of us. But with AD, unrecognized sounds can be just as frightening in the middle of the day when they are left alone at home, in a car or in unfamiliar surroundings.
From the time we are born, each person tends to find specific things that enable us to feel safe. From pacifers, teddy bears, a special blanklet to our mother’s arms. As we age, especially when living with Alzheimer’s, it might be the embrace from our spouse, sitting in our favorite chair, hearing a familiar voice, or being with a friend that gives us comfort. And, it seldom matters if that dearest friend is a long-time friend or a new one. It simply matters that they care and make us feel safe.