Keeping your aging mother or father safe at home is very important. Whether you move them into your house or they live independently in their own home, there are risk factors that need to be addressed. Adapting a home for an aging parent takes planning, but it will be more comfortable and safer if certain measures are implemented.
America’s older population is continuing to grow. By 2030, the population aged 50 or over will be about 132 million. Most of this growth will be concentrated among those aged 65 and over, as the retirement of the leading edge of the baby boom is projected to nearly double the number of adults aged 65-74 from 21.7 million in 2010 to 38.6 million in 2030. Many Americans prefer to age in place or at home and to do that safely we explore ways to stay safe below.
A Trip and Fall in the Home
One of the most common accidents in the home for senior citizens is tripping or falling. Trip hazards need to be recognized to minimize trip risks. Loose carpets, throw rugs, raised entryways, and slippery floors or walkways should be modified.
Create Stability Throughout the Home
Create stability in the home that can help prevent or catch a slip or trip. This may include grab bars in the bathrooms, stability handles near doorways, and a very steady handrail when using stairs. It’s also important to have living areas very well-lit so they stay safe. Other modifications can include raised toilet seats, textured mats for a bathtub or shower for added security and removing unreliable bath mats from the bathroom floor. A better option is a mat with grips or adhesive that stays put.
Accessible and Working Fire Extinguishers & Smoke Detectors
Other rooms in the home may also need to be modified. The kitchen, for example, can also be a hotbed of potential risk factors. Most importantly, a fire extinguisher should be easily reached in case there is a fire. As in other rooms, non-sturdy mats, clunky chairs and old appliances should be addressed.
When the clocks are switched for daylight savings time, change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your loved ones safe.
Integrate Technology with Voice Commands for Help
Equip your parents with a smartwatch or an Alexa device that can be voice-commanded to reach help a loved one for assistance. These are relatively inexpensive and can be easy to set up and utilize.
Added Security at the Front Door
Not all danger factors occur inside the home. Seniors are often targeted for theft or scams due to perceived vulnerability. A security system is an option, but this can be expensive and complicated.
Consider purchasing a video doorbell like Ring, which connects to a home Wi-Fi network and will send alerts when it detects motion or when someone presses the doorbell.
With a little planning and some in-home modifications, your aging parent will be safer, more comfortable and healthier in their home.