- Home Improvement

Providing a Safer Home for Aging Parents

The aging population is an inescapable feature of our demography, and the challenges of old age is not solely a gerontological issue, but a family dilemma. Our aging parents want to remain independent, but a key consideration is comfort and safety. Installation of certain features, like non-skid floors and a shower chair are trade-offs for preventing accidents and falls, without making your parents feel they are losing their independence.

How to Prevent Elderly Accidents in the Home

Eliminate clutter that may trigger trips and falls. You should start by eliminating the usual and innocent looking items that trigger accidents at home. For example, leave no shoes on the stairs, or perhaps move your parents’ bedroom from the second to the first floor. Also, look around for tripping hazards, like throw rugs, or carpet with thick edges.

Organize your home for elderly comfort. Many falls and accidents occur while our parents are trying to reach for something that is beyond their functionalities. See that items they frequently need are between waist and shoulder level. Older people become victims of nasty falls when they attempt to get hard-to-reach items by climbing onto chairs. It’s easier to re-organize a home instead of having them climb to reach for something.

Install grab bars and a shower bench. Grab bars make it easier for the elderly to balance while bathing. They usually find it difficult to stand for longer periods or walk without an aide to stabilize themselves. Additionally, a bench becomes a convenient feature to help make bathing simpler while preventing slip and falls. It’s also a good support feature for disabled people, and a shower bench is considered an upgrade for bathrooms.

Create Fall-proof steps. Steps should not be slippery, and easy visible. Use fluorescent tape on the edges of the top and bottom step for visible signs of accessibility. Also, make sure there are handrails on both sides of the stairs to make it easier for balance. The better option, like mentioned above, is re-locating a parent’s bedroom to the main floor of the house. This minimizes the need to use the stairs and removes the risk of falling.

Is It Time for a Caregiver

As parents grow older they enter a new phase of adulthood, and this often means they are unable to perform all the tasks required for daily living. New arrangements, like a home-based caregiver, or assisted-living arrangement can help them remain active, and independent while providing help for challenging requirements they can no longer accomplish.

Services like housekeeping and laundry, meal planning, transportation and short excursions may be more appealing to aging parents. It keeps them fully motivated, and able to continue an active lifestyle, while giving them options of support. It also allows them to keep their dignity intact but removes some of the obstacles of daily living. The basics of caring for an aging parent can be challenging, however, if you take a new approach that incorporates a few changes, the tasks become manageable, for you and them.