As our loved ones age, mobility and dexterity can become a greater challenge. Most people are more comfortable staying in their own homes throughout their lives, but it is not always as safe of an environment as we may hope it to be. If you’re thinking about keeping your senior parents in their home or yours, consider that there may be adjustments and accommodations that should be made in order to ensure that the home environment is safe for older adults. Here are some ways that you can enhance your home to be safer for senior parents.
General Home Adjustments for Senior Parents
There are certain small adjustments that you can make around the house to ensure that the home is safer for your older loved one to move around and continue to use the everyday items that they are most comfortable using.
- Handles should be placed in strategic areas on the walls around the house to give your loved one an easier way to grip the wall for balance.
- All stairs and entryways should also have handrails to provide balance and prevent tripping and falling.
- Make sure that the floor is clear of all debris and/or carpeting that could cause your loved one to trip and fall.
- Changing the doorknobs to levers may make it easier for someone who is having issues with hand dexterity to open and close doors within the home.
- Creating wider doorframes that are easier to move through, especially with a walker or wheelchair, will give your senior loved one a safer and more comfortable path to move through the house.
- It may not be a bad idea to install a granny cam to keep an eye on your loved one if they are living alone or have limited companion interaction.
Bathroom Adjustments for Aging Seniors
The bathroom is a high-risk area for slips and falls, which can cause severe injury in seniors. Here are some ways that you can make the bathroom less hazardous.
- Handles in the shower and along the wall near the shower can help prevent slip and fall from a wet surface.
- A shower seat can provide a safe haven for someone who is feeling light-headed or weak from standing.
- Make sure that the shower ledge is adjusted for an easy walk-in, and that your loved one does not have to step over a high ledge.
- Non-slip mats should be used inside and outside the shower, and anywhere that there might be water on the floor, such as by the sink.
- Building in a more comfortable and higher toilet seat for your loved one to use may help if there are issues with the ease of sitting and standing.
If your older loved one still loves to cook and enjoys the kitchen, there are things that you can do to make it a more comfortable and safe place for them to continue to use.
- Make sure that cooking timers are easily accessible and are loud enough to be heard when needed. This will help your loved one with being aware when food is ready, and when appliances need to be turned off.
- Adjust countertops to be at an appropriate height for your loved one, whether they are standing or need to remain in a seated position while in the kitchen.
- Ensuring that all necessary utensils and appliances are in easy-to-reach cabinets will help make it easier for your loved one to pick out what they need without having to bend down or reach up too high.
It may take several adjustments to make a home more secure for your older loved one. In the event that you cannot be available to your loved one on a regular basis, you may consider bringing in a companion to help with daily activities around the house. At 24/7 Nursing Care, we can give you peace-of-mind by providing your loved one with assistance and companionship in their own home. Contact us for more information.
2016|, A. B., & 2016, A. B. (n.d.). Ways to Make Your Home Secure for Older Parents. Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2016/home-safety-tips-older-parents.html
Ginzler, E. (2014, May 27). Home Safety and Modification Tips for Aging Parents. Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2014/caregiving-home-safety-modifications-ginzler.html
Home Safety Checklist. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2017, from http://www.caregiverstress.com/senior-safety/making-home-safer/safety-checklist/