How To Keep Aging Parents Living Safely At Home
Posted on by Chris Frombach
Your parents cared for you as you grew up, and now that they are getting older, they may need additional help living safely in their home. In order for your aging parents to maintain their independence, you need to make sure they have the proper home modifications and safety measures in place to keep them out of a nursing home and in the home they love.
Below are some home safety tips on how to keep your aging parents living happily and safely in the comfort of their own home.
Slip and falls in the bathroom account for many injuries to the elderly. Bathroom floors can be wet and slippery – not to mention full of obstacles such as bathtubs with a high lip or toilets that are too short to safely use. Adaptations can include simple items such as grab bars or tub transfer bench to more complex items like removal of the tub in favor of a walk-in tub or barrier free tub.
Regardless of what you choose, a non-slip, rubber backed bath mat outside the shower is a must. A rubber mat inside the showering area is also an essential. For the toilet, there are many different styles of raised toilet seats to choose from.
To avoid falls or injuries, be sure to adjust the height of the bed to make it easy to get in and out of. Look for half-height box springs to make the mattress height shorter, or adding plywood between the mattress and box spring to increase the height.
A bedside table can be an important addition. This will make it easier to have items such as the TV remote and phone within easy reach. It’s also important to keep any mobility devices, such as a walker or cane, within close distance.
Nightlights can prevent trips or falls during nighttime trips to the bathroom. You should also remove or replace throw rugs with wall-to-wall carpeting, or tack them down to prevent falls.
Anyone who cooks or bakes knows the potential dangers of working in the kitchen. Knives, for example, can create pressure on joints due to the way they need to be held to work. Look for knives with a handle similar to that of a cross cut saw which make cutting easier. Keeping knives sharp will also minimize joint fatigue and stress. Wheeled carts are another good way to protect joints when transporting items from one place to another.
A good rule of thumb is to keep commonly used cooking items within reach and to make sure appliance cords are tucked away to avoid tripping. For easier accessibility, cabinets can be modified to include pull-out and pull-up drawers.