It’s harder for any of us to find items in a cluttered environment, especially if the items are not well marked. So help the person to organize by grouping similar items together – for example, put breakfast foods together. Leave the most used items on the countertop, in see-through containers, labeled in large letters to help alert the person as to their contents. If the person will be alone, set out all ingredients before a meal and leave instructions.
A person with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia may forget to look inside the cupboards or drawers, so put up signs and pictures to help him/her locate objects behind closed doors or drawers. If this doesn’t work, remove a cupboard door.
Make sure there is good lighting on the countertops – it helps a person see better and it help directs their attention to the area.
As the disease progresses, your care receiver may not be able to tell what’s safe to eat and drink, due to loss of judgment and memory. They may mistake one item for another – like orange-colored liquid soap for soda. So it’s vital to know when you need to remove or deny access.
Some caregivers have success placing select items out of view in the same room, while others move materials to another room. And some put a lock on cabinet. Just in case someone eats or drinks a harmful substance, post the national poison control hotline in an easy-to-find location.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers advises to pay special attention to liquids, as they’re absorbed rapidly, and a large quantity can be swallowed in a short period of time.