Dementa Safety

Predict The Risk: 50 Safety Checks To Do Today

As dementia progresses, more safety risks arise when abilities decline. Some  things may not be a risk right now, but may be in the future. Review this list  now, and as abilities change for your care recipient.

Safety Systems

Kitchen Safety

  1. Use appliances with auto-shutoff. For example, stoves, ovens, kettles,  toasters, or plugs with auto-shut-off features. If you’re worried about the  stove being left on, try taking the knobs off or putting safety locks on.
  2. Turn off the circuit breaker for the oven and stove. If you have a gas  range, ask a professional about turning off the gas line to the oven  and stove.  
  3. Duct tape over microwave buttons like “baked potato” to avoid putting  food in for too long. Only leave buttons like “2 minutes” or “30 seconds” visible.
  4. Remove small appliances over time if you’re worried about them becoming unsafe like putting metal in the microwave or a knife in  the toaster.  
  5. Running water. Install automatic shutoff or motion-sensor faucets so they don’t leave the water running.  
  6. Adjust the water heater so it doesn’t go higher than 120 degrees F to avoid burns. 
  7. Get smoke and carbon monoxide detectors—check often to see if  they work.  
  8. Disconnect the garbage disposal. A person with dementia might try to put hands or objects inside. 
  9. Remove non-edible objects from the kitchen counter. Consider things they could mistake for food like decorative fruits, vitamins or  medications, and food-shaped magnets.  
  10. Remove expired foods. Go through the cabinets, fridge, and freezer  regularly so they don’t get sick.  
  11. Lock up dangerous items like matches, scissors, and knives. Keep them out of reach.  

Bathroom Safety

  1. Remove the bathroom door lock so they don’t accidentally lock  themselves inside.  
  2. Purchase or install safety equipment near the toilet or in the shower  like grab bars, shower chairs, or nonslip mats.  
  3. Assign someone to help with bathing and toileting when needed. 
  4. Remove electrical appliances from the bathroom to avoid electrocution risk. Have the person use these appliances, like electric razors or hairdryers, in a different place.  


  1. Keep doors locked and install fences with difficult latches, deadbolts,  or chains. Use extra caution for rooms with dangerous items inside,  like the garage.  
  2. Install door alarms or pressure-sensitive floor mats that go off if  they leave.
  3. Install GPS and monitoring devices to locate them and see what  they’re doing in the home. Examples include smartwatches, specialized  locator devices, door chimes, and cameras. 
  4. Keep contact information on them as much as possible like a slip of  paper into their wallet or a tag on keys.  
  5. Inform as many people as you can—neighbors, friends, and family– and ask them to tell you if they see your care recipient wandering.  You can also register them with a wandering response service, like the  Alzheimer’s Association’s “Wandering Support”.
  6. Keep a recent photo of them and a list of places they might wander to.


  1. Organize a system for taking medications so they don’t skip a dose  or forget whether they’ve taken it. Try blister packs, alarms, and  automatic pill dispensers.  
  2. Lock up medications and store them out of sight. They might take  too many if they forget whether they’ve taken a dose, or if it looks  like candy. 
  3. Assign someone to give them medications when they can’t manage on  their own, but monitor this over time.  
  4. Have the number for poison control handy in case of accidental  overdose.
  5. Request a medication review so a doctor can check for interacting  medications or ones that serve the same purpose.


  1. Check the outside of the car for bumps or scrapes.  
  2. Talk to a doctor if you think they may be a risk for driving. A doctor can  organize an assessment and tell them not to drive.  
  3. Hide the keys or give them a fake set if they no longer have their license.
  4. Organize other transportation options like community driver services  or grocery delivery.

Phone & Internet

  1. Leave notes by the phone or computer with safety instructions. For  example “banks will never call/email to ask your password” or “if a stranger calls you, hang up and call your son John.”
  2. Update passwords regularly or use a password app to keep them  secure.  
  3. Run antivirus software and install browser extensions that block  unsafe or unsecured websites.  
  4. Hide and lock away important documents and cards so they can’t  give information to scammers. For example, social security numbers,  medicare numbers, and credit cards.
  5. Monitor computer or phone time, or use them together.
Time to change password

Chemicals & Cleaning Supplies

  1. Lock cupboards that contain cleaning products like bleach and oven  cleaner to avoid accidental use or ingestion. You can use child safety  locks or padlocks.
  2. Lock up or dispose of chemicals like paint thinner, antifreeze,  and gasoline.

Tools & Equipment

  1.  Reduce access to equipment like lawnmowers, weed trimmers,  chainsaws, and snow blowers by hiding the object or keys.  
  2. Lock up or remove power tools like drills, saws, nail guns, or staple  guns–especially if they used to use them regularly.
  3. Store or remove ladders to reduce fall hazards and prevent the person  from climbing on them.


  1. Discuss a plan with others in the home if there are guns or firearms  so the person with dementia can’t access them. You can leave the  firearms but remove the ammunition–or lock them away altogether.


  1. Make a plan for storing alcohol and managing their consumption.  Alcohol can make dementia symptoms worse and affect behavior.  A person with dementia may not be able to monitor their own  consumption. Talk to a doctor to find out how much is safe to drink.
  2. Hide and lock up alcohol if they’re taking prescription medications, as  these are often unsafe to take together.


  1. Reduce clutter like throw rugs, shoes, clothes, or pet toys.  
  2. Use falls alert devices like smartwatches or emergency alert necklaces that call a caregiver or 911 if they fall.
  3. Rearrange cupboards or shelves with commonly used items more  reachable. 
  4. Add bright lighting, nightlights, or motion-sensor lighting so they can see better. 
  5. Make steps easier to see by adding strips of brightly colored tape or a sign in large letters that says “STEP DOWN”. 
  6. Make eye doctor appointments to ensure they have the right eyewear.  
  7. Use equipment that makes it easier to sit down and stand up from  surfaces. For example, grab bars, couch rails, or bed canes.
Woman sitting on couch with safety necklace

Additional Resources

  • Caregiver assisting senior man out of bed

    Dementia and Skills for Responding to Communication Changes

  • Elderly woman on cell phone

    Frauds & Scams: Online & Phone

  • Caregiver hugging elderly woman

    Stages Of Dementia: What To Expect

  • Article

    Wandering: Reduce The Risk