Home Modification Resources

Booklet: Environmental Coping Srategies for Alzheimer's Caregivers

PART IV. CAREGIVER'S RELUCTANCE TO CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT

Because of the temporary nature of many behaviors, the caregiver is often reluctant to introduce a change within the home or to simplify a task. Rather, the caregiver may provide additional support and attention to the person in order to prevent an accident or to accomplish a specific task (e.g., dressing, bathing, eating). In some cases, this may encourage the person's helplessness and produce an additional burden and stress on the caregiver. Adjusting the environment may provide the needed support for the person to maintain functioning and independence.

By modifying the home in order to make it more compatible with the increased safety needs of the person with Alzheimer's Disease, a potential accident or disability may be prevented. An accident that might have been prevented through the simple installation of a grab bar or removal of dangerous products in the home can result in considerable trauma to the person and the caregiver.

Reluctance on the part of the caregiver may come from the negative image of a stigmatized environment, cost of making change, difficulty in identifying resources or uncertainty over whether the modification will be effective. Yet, many of the preventative measures that are recommended are non-therapeutic in nature, low cost and relatively simple to make.

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A project of the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification,
in affiliation with the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, funded by the Archstone Foundation.
Located at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center, Los Angeles, California 90089-0191 (213) 740-1364.