So you’ve decided to be a caregiver for your elderly parent or grandparent. Lots of changes will come your way as your household welcomes another member and adjustments will need to be made in your family unit. In that same way, some adjustments to your home can offer you peace of mind and life easier for your loved one. How can you make sure that your home – which previously did not meet the needs of an elderly individual – is a safe place for them?
Here are three tips to help make your home safe for an elderly loved one.
1. Start From the Ground Up to Prevent Falls
Since one in three people over 65 years old fall, and because falls can cause all sorts of complications on top of aging itself, look at the ground. Are there area rugs where a foot could trip? Should they be removed? Are there uneven surfaces or doorways that require a step down? Maybe you need a small ramp to make it easier. Can any furniture be eliminated so their paths to the rooms they need – their bedroom, the bathroom, or anywhere else – are clear?
2. Make Sure the Bathroom is Safe
Bathrooms are often called the most dangerous room in the house and for good reasons. Make sure your elderly loved one has everything they need, whether it is a bathtub transfer bench, a shower chair, or a raised toilet seat. There are ways to get creative and ensure safety while preserving the dignity of your loved one.
3. Increase Your Home’s Accessibility
Is your loved one in a wheelchair? Is the house accessible for them? If they are still mobile, would an extra railing on the stairs or a grab bar help? Make sure your light switches are easy for them to use and figure out. Lever door knobs are often easier for someone older to use.
Consider why they are moving in with you in the first place and what is now too difficult for them to handle on their own. Make sure your house addresses as many of those issues as possible. Would a walker trolley help them transport items around the house while also providing them with stability while walking? A mobility aid can also make your job as a caregiver less physically demanding.
As a caregiver, you are doing an incredible thing that will require a lot of hard work and patience. Not only will making sure your home is safe keep your loved one safe, but it lessens the extreme physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Thank goodness there are easy changes that can help both you and your elderly loved one.
Goyer, A. Tips for Caregiving at Home. AARP. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2iIoBce
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