Tips For Making Nighttime Safer For Your Elderly Parent

If you've recently had your elderly parent move into your home, you may find that things go pretty well during the daytime. The nighttime hours, however, can be a different story. There are a number of potential issues that can occur after dark, especially if your parent is experiencing the early stages of dementia and often wakes up feeling confused and perhaps unaware of his or her surroundings. You may worry about your parent during these hours, perhaps to the point that your concerns disrupt your sleep. Here are some tips that you can employ to make the overnight time frame safer.

Hire A Home Health Aide

Even if you can handle taking care of your parent during the daytime, you may need help at night. This is where a home health care provider can be extremely valuable. Contact a home health agency and hire an aide who can work the overnight shift — he or she will arrive at your home at bedtime and depart in the morning. This way, whether your parent wakes up and is confused, has trouble sleeping and acts restless, or experiences other nighttime issues, the aide will be able to provide the necessary help — all while you get a restful night's sleep.

Set Up The Bedroom Like Home

An elderly person who wakes up in an unfamiliar environment may trip and fall doing something as simple as trying to use the bathroom. If possible, set up your parent's bedroom like the bedroom in his or her previous home. Ideally, you can even use the same bed and bedside table so that these items feel familiar. Place the bed and bedside table in the same location in the room in your home that your parent will be using. You may even wish to place a familiar floor mat next to the bed. The more familiar the environment is, the less likely your parent will be to get confused and trip and fall.

Use Night Lights

While your parent may like total darkness while he or she sleeps, you may still want to install a dim night light somewhere in the room. Place it where its glow will add some light to the room, but where it's out of a direct line of sight from the bed — this position will make it less obtrusive. You'll also want to place motion-activated night lights in the hallway and in the bathroom so that the route to this room is adequately illuminated for your parent in the night.