Do you have aging parents living in their own residence? Your parents may be capable individuals, but even so, you may worry about something happening that could cause injury. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to age-proof a home and to make it as safe as possible for elderly individuals.
If you are able to make some of the changes listed below in your parents’ home environment, you will have peace of mind in knowing that you have provided Mom and Dad with the safety they need to continue living independently.
Be Cautious with Steps
The stairs are one location where accidents can easily happen. If your parents live in a ranch-style home, that is all to the good. But if they have stairs to climb, it can present a problem, especially if they have any limits to their mobility. Here are a few pointers on how to handle stairs:
* All stairways should have a handrail.
* Steps need to have proper illumination, with a light switch at both the top and bottom of the staircase.
* If the stairs are not carpeted, each step should have some type of tread for easy traction.
* Residential stair lifts are a great way for elderly individuals to safely ascend and descend the stairs.
The kitchen is another location where proper precautions should be taken. A few simple pointers will help to make the kitchen area a safer spot for elderly parents:
* Cabinets should be easily accessible so that senior citizens do not need to reach up high in order to get an item.
* For those with arthritic hands, faucets that turn on and off easily will be a blessing.
* The floor should be of a material that is easy to clean, such as vinyl or linoleum. Never use scatter rugs, as they can slide and cause serious injury.
* Ovens, stovetops and all other kitchen appliances should always be kept in perfect working order and should be user-friendly, so that the elderly will not have a problem operating them.
Beware of Bathrooms
Accidents can occur in the bathroom even to those who are not elderly. Safety measures will need to be taken to ensure that senior citizens will have a safer lavatory.
* Walk-in showers are beneficial for older individuals, as there will not be a high tub to step over. There should always be safety bars in the shower and tub area for grasping and holding onto when getting in and out. These bars should also be by the toilet.
* Seats can be purchased that are designed for use in the shower. They will prove to be very beneficial for those who cannot stand in the shower for any length of time.
* Ensure that shower doors do not allow any water seepage onto the floor.
By properly age-proofing your parents’ residence, they will have a safe environment in which to enjoy their golden years, and you will have the peace of mind that you’ve adapted their home to minimize the risk of an accident.
Guest blogger Claire Bradshaw has written a number of articles offering advice to baby-boomers caring for aging parents. She has a website that provides information about straight stair lifts and advice on things to consider when carrying out home adaptations for elderly people with limited mobility.