Growing frail and old does not necessarily mean the loss of your independence. In this post we cover some of the simple modifications that can be done to keep the elderly safe in their own homes. Most of us have grandparents or parents who are seniors and we should take responsibility for their safety and wellbeing by making sure their home is safe.
When seniors are capable of moving around without any assistance and are enjoying good health there is not much to worry about, though anyone can slip and fall. Therefore, precautions should be taken no matter what physical condition they are in at the present time.
We would much rather see our loved ones safe in an assisted care facility but the decision really isn’t ours to make. Taking away an older person’s independence before they are ready to let go is one of the worst things we can do to them. We have to respect their need to feel independent and not rob them of their self-worth.
Home adaptation which includes some level of modification and/or repair work will be required to make the place secure for someone who is frail. You have to take into consideration the fact that quite a few elderly people have an imbalance problem due to weak joints and limbs. Also accidents or illness can leave them feeling weak and shaky.
Modifications can include but are not limited to grab bars and ramps, transfer benches in the bathrooms and handrails for easy access around the home. These simple items provide added support when sitting, standing or moving around the house. There are other changes that include alterations to the physical structure of the house itself to improve safety levels.
Needless to say each individual’s safety requirements will differ in terms of physical health condition and ailments, level of frailty, etc. It is best to assess the actual requirements of your loved one and then make the necessary modifications. Do not make the mistake of investing in general modifications – this is not a ‘one size fits all’ deal.
Home adaptations can be simple or complex – it really depends on the physical aspects of the person’s condition. This is evaluated in terms of mobility limitations and medical needs. In creating a safe home environment, you are giving your loved one the opportunity to retain maximum independence and dignity.
Home modifications do not have to cost the earth and very often, again depending on your seniors needs and physical limitations, simple things like installing additional lighting, getting rid of loose rugs, rearranging furniture to sit against the far walls to leave the center of the room free, are all some of the many ways in which you can make changes for enhanced safety at home.
In our high tech world we often tend to overlook the obvious and choose to go instead after the more complex things in life. You may be surprised to learn that the simple act of moving furniture out of the way or getting rid of loose floor rugs that can trip you up has saved many a person from a fall and possibly a nasty fracture.
Some of the things you should consider include:
- Your loved one’s mobility capabilities, visual and hearing impairments and other physical limitations.
- Can the person get in and out of bed easily or do they need assistance? There are products on the market that can help in this area.
- When the person reaches out to steady themselves in a moment of unsteadiness, will there be something to hold on to?
- How easy or hard will going to the bathroom at night and even during the day be for them?
- Is there sufficient light in the house to see clearly by? Are passageways and bathrooms well lit?
Bathrooms and kitchens are the most hazardous zones in the house. Install grab bars in the shower area, over the bath tub and near the toilet. You can also install a grab rail on the edge of the bath tub for additional support.
Consider all of these suggestions as you assess the mobility of your loved one and their ability to stay in their home. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our loved ones!