In the last few decades, life expectancy has risen sharply, and people are remaining healthier for longer. Even though your elderly parents will likely require increased care as they get older, they won’t want to surrender their independence. Most older people will want to remain in the comfort of their own homes.
With old age comes several health issues, including memory loss, frailty, cognitive decline, loss of mobility, and poorer eyesight and hearing. For this reason, you must ensure that their living environment is as safe and practical as possible. The most common injuries in the home for the elderly are caused by falls, but other types of accidents include burns and cuts.
Many companies provide solutions that can help out with ensuring safety of your loved ones. For example, the HomeTouch Care offer includes qualified professionals who won’t only care for the elderly, but keep them safe, too.
We all want our parents to remain independent, healthy and happy as long as possible. We don’t suggest making sweeping changes all at once that could cause confusion and disorientation but a few gradual improvements at a time.
Below you’ll find 7 ways to start making your elderly parents’ home safer.
Update or Install Grab Bars in Bathrooms
Bathrooms can be very slippery, especially when wet. Grab bars in the bathrooms will help elderly people get in and out of the bath or shower and also use the toilet. It’s a good idea to install grab bars behind toilets, around tubs, and next to the sink.
You should never place a grab bar across the bathtub, as this can cause a serious slip and fall accident. If you’re installing grab bars around the toilet, make sure they aren’t placed behind your parents as they use the toilet. The best choice is to install grab bars on both sides of the toilet for support.
Install Ramps in Parking Spaces
An elderly person who lives alone is more exposed to falls. If they have trouble walking, they may need to drive to pick up groceries or even visit friends. If they live in a high-rise apartment, they may have problems walking down the stairs or getting into the elevator.
If your parents can’t lift their feet high enough to enter the car easily, they will need to use a wheelchair ramp, which should be sturdy enough to support their weight and the weight of their vehicle. If they live in a low-rise building with reasonable access to the entrance, your parents can install an aluminum ramp over the threshold.
Install Grab Bars in the Kitchen
Another area that can be dangerous for elderly people is the kitchen. To avoid accidental falls, it’s a good idea to install grab bars near any appliance that requires hot water or electricity. If your parents like to cook, they should also install a grab bar on the back of the stove.
At the very least, install a grab bar above the kitchen sink so your parents can hold onto the handles and safely dry their hands. Also make sure you install grab bars next to all sinks in any area of the house. You should consider installing anti-slip mats around all tubs and showers.
Install a Fall Alarm
Installing a fall alarm is the safest way to prevent future falls. Even though it’s impossible to know when your parents will fall, a fall alarm is the most effective and practical way to make sure they are safe when you are out of their home.
A fall alarm is a smart device that can be attached to your parents’ clothing or bedding and will sound an alarm if they have fallen and they are immobile for more than a few minutes. If they are in their home, you can check on them with a video monitor. If they are outside, you can check on them with an audio monitor. This will allow you to check on them and make sure they are safe and not experiencing any physical distress.
Install a Safety Camera in Your Parents’ Home
Installing a security camera inside your parents’ home can make them feel much safer. It’s a good idea to install a camera inside their front door so they can see who is there. If a person rings the doorbell, the camera will capture their face and allow you or your parents to see the person through the app on their phone. Your parents can open the door from inside the house to interact with the person at the door. There’s no need to worry about burglars or other intruders if you have a camera installed in your parents’ home.
By installing these safety devices, you can make your parents’ home safer and make their lives easier. If your parents refuse to install these devices, you should at least try to suggest them so that they are aware of the benefits.
The Bottom Line
As people grow older, they start facing problems and challenges that they may not have thought much of before. If you want to avoid unnecessary harm happening to your elderly parents, you’ll need to proof their home as early as possible. Things like grab bars and personal alarms are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They’re also easy to use. Of course, it is equally important to ensure which devices and appliances they actually need — there is nothing worse for an elderly person’s self-esteem than an overprotective child who considers them worse off than they actually are.