Safety in the home
Living with and taking care of an elderly family member can be challenging. As we age, our physical and emotional needs often grow more complex and many seniors require significant assistance to maintain a good quality of life.
From issues as complicated as Alzheimer’s & dementia to things as simple as the natural reduction in mobility that comes with age, it’s important to understand the needs of your loved one and be prepared to make the changes required to accommodate them.
Often times, due to decreased mobility and other physical limitations, adapting the home might be necessary to provide the highest level of care. Not only will this serve to make your life as a caretaker easier, but it will also provide peace of mind for your loved one and make them feel both secure and well cared for.
The following is a list of things you should consider when seeking to modify your home to accommodate an aging family member.
- Ramps & Lifts: When limited mobility affects the use of stairs, it is time to consider incorporating ramps and lifts. For smaller staircases, rubber ramps are an affordable option, as they can be cut to size. Permanent ramps can also be installed as well as lifts for longer staircases.
- Walkers: Walkers are a great way to encourage exercise for those seniors with limited mobility. Walkers are now available in lightweight aluminum with fold up options for ease of movement and storage.
- Bathroom grab bars & elevated toilet seats: Bathroom grab bars and elevated toilet seats help to allow seniors to function independently in the bathroom. They can be installed in and around the toilet and the tub. Elevated toilet seats help those who might have trouble getting in and out of a sitting position. Some elevated seats come equipped with arm rests as well as hydraulic systems to help raise and lower the person into a seated position.
- Proper lighting: In order to see properly, elderly people often require more light. Be sure to consider stronger lighting for reading and doing other activities that require good visibility.
- Lift chair: Sometimes it can be challenging for seniors with limited mobility to get in and out of easy chairs or recliners. Lift chairs provide all the comfort of a recliner with extra hydraulics to help get in and out easily.
- Slip proofing: In the tub or on slippery floors, it is always a good idea to put down slip proofing material. This can often be inexpensively purchased from the hardware store. Also make sure rugs and small carpets are slip proof.
- Small things: Sometimes small things can make a big difference. Make sure you keep the house tidy, with cords tucked away and spaces uncluttered. Tripping hazards should be reduced as much as possible and passage through hallways and rooms should be clear.
- Medications: Often medications become more important as we age and keeping track of proper dosages and medications is paramount. Make sure all medications are clearly labeled and that no medication is ever stored in the wrong container.
- Medical alerts: You can’t be there 24 hours a day, so for the times when you aren’t around, there are medical alert technologies to help you maintain peace of mind. Usually in the form of a pendant or a bracelet, these medical alert systems are buttons connected to health care professionals. There are also systems with fall sensor options to help in case of disorientation or confusion.