Despite the range of care options available today, many people are choosing to stay at in the comfort of home as they age. If your aging loved one is among this group who prefer independent living, we suggest the following tips for the home to make their experience more pleasant and safe.
- SMOKE, FIRE, AND CO2 DETECTORS: Consider installing detectors in the kitchen, with alarms. These detectors can help detect fire or smoke breakout in the kitchen and raise an alarm at a monitoring center. There are carbon monoxide monitors as well.
- CUPBOARDS: Rearrange cupboards, placing commonly used items in easier to reach shelves to prevent overreaching or injury from falling items.
KITCHEN TOOLS: When it comes to kitchen tools, choose ones that are designed to make gripping and holding items easier. Examples include:
- Kettle Tippers
- Wide-handled cutlery
- Tap turners
- Non-slip table mats
- Two-handled cups
- Assistive bottles, jars, and tin openers
- PERCHING STOOL: Place a perching stool at an easy-to-reach area of the kitchen. This would help ease the strain on the older adult’s strain on feet when preparing food at the counter.
- CONTRASTING COLORS: You can use contrasting colors in the kitchen to help the eyes of your senior family member register items more easily.
TROLLEY: The trolleys in the kitchen will help move food and drinks safely from one place to another.
- ENTRY PHONE: Place an entry phone in the living room to help with difficulty getting to the front door when someone is at the door. Also, make sure that the contact phone has a larger screen to make contacting friends and family easier.
- LIGHTING: Make sure the lighting in the living room is bright enough to prevent falls and accidents due to poor vision. Remember, the eyes of an 80-year old need approximately three times more light than a young adult.
- FURNITURE: The room’s furniture should be arranged in such a way that plenty of space is left to maneuver freely. Consider any walking aids such as canes, walkers, rollators, etc.
- ELECTRIC CORDS: Make sure that all electric cords are secured to the wall to prevent any tripping accidents.
RUGS: Either remove rugs or secure them to the floor with pads.
- BED RAIL: Installing a bed rail will help offer additional support for the elderly.
- LAMP AND FLASHLIGHT: A lamp should be kept within reach of the bed to avoid the walk to and from the light switches, which can be dangerous, especially in the dark. Also, a flashlight should be placed near the bed that can be accessed in case of a power cut.
- BED RAISERS: These can be helpful for those with difficulty getting in and out of bed.
CARPET: Consider installing a low-pile carpet in the bedroom that can provide a protective cushioning in the event of a fall.
- SHOWERHEAD: If your loved one is dealing with limited mobility, consider using a handheld showerhead to provide ease and comfort.
- GRAB BARS: These will be helpful in providing extra support when moving on and off the toilet seat, or in and out of the bathtub.
- BATH BENCH: Consider investing in a bath bench to reduce the risk of slipping when getting in and out of the bathtub.
- RAISED TOILET SEAT: The raised toilet seats can be helpful for those who have difficulty bending or sitting on lower surfaces.
NON-SKID MATS: Place these outside the shower and near toilets and sinks to prevent slipping.
- STAIRLIFT: This is an expensive option, but may be necessary depending on the mobility and layout of your home to reduce the risk of falling down when climbing stairs when at the same time can help make the life of your loved one easier by eliminating the need to walk up and down stairs. Alternatively, you can also consider installing handrails on both sides of the staircase and make the edges of each step clearly defined to prevent falls.
- LEVER DOOR HANDLES: Replace the conventional doorknobs with lever door handles to make it easier for the elderly to use, especially for those with arthritis.
TABLE: Consider installing a table in the hallway to put things on when entering the home. This can prevent fumbling with keys or mail.
These tips will help increase the safety of seniors when at the same time allowing them to maintain their freedom and independence. Have you taken these precautions?
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