Caring for a Dementia Patient: Tips to Poison-Proof the Home


Children might be at greater risk for swallowing toxic household products, but adults with dementia also are in jeopardy. Many everyday products found in the home can cause poisoning if ingested. Some examples include:

  • Bleach, detergents and detergent pods, drain openers, oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and the like.
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medicines, vitamins, and other dietary supplements.
  • Antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, and mothballs.
  • Cosmetics, hair dye, hair spray, and nail polish remover.
  • Paint, furniture polish, lighter fluids, gasoline, and lamp oil.
  • Plants and flowers.

The following tips can help prevent accidental poisoning from household chemicals.

  • Store products in their original containers with the labels in place. Labels can provide you with information about what to do in case of poisoning.
  • Store household chemicals separately from food. Containers often look similar, making it easy for a person with dementia to make mistakes.
  • Use safety locks on cabinets containing potentially dangerous chemicals, or keep these products out of reach.
  • Return all cleaning products to their storage location immediately after use.

If your loved one ingests a toxic substance, call Poison Control at 800-222-1222.