If you’re planning to move your elderly parents into your home, you MUST take comfort and safety into consideration. Issues such as mobility, disability and illnesses determine what your parents need to be comfortable and secure while staying with you and your family, so many families find it challenging to implement the right home setup.
Furthermore, helping an aging relative to settle into your home while maintaining some level of independence is vital for your parent’s overall wellbeing. Luckily, furniture such as electric leather recliners makes it easier for the elderly to rest or watch TV while no-slip mats in the shower can prevent a nasty fall. The modern market caters for many of the challenges you’re facing!
Keep reading to find out what else you can do to adapt your home environment to accommodate an elderly parent’s needs.
4 Ways to Make Your Home Comfortable and Safe for Elderly Parents
1. Consider the Furniture
It’s important to factor in age-related health problems when deciding on the right furniture for aging individuals. Comfortable and ergonomically designed furniture provides proper posture support for senior citizens who battle with aching backs, muscular ailments and sore joints.
An electric recliner lift chair makes it easier for elderly parents to go from a sitting to a standing position without losing balance. Higher beds allow them to get into bed with ease while footstools let your parents raise their weary legs and encourage healthy blood circulation. Storage at eye level prevents your parents from having to lift heavy items from the ground or from overhead.
2. Upgrade the Bathroom With Elderly-Friendly Modifications
Your bathroom could become a serious hazard for aging parents battling with mobility or balance. Consider upgrading the bathroom using the following elderly-friendly modifications:
- Textured, no-slip mats: Placing these types of mats in the shower and bath helps prevent your parents from slipping.
- Waterproof seat: Using a waterproof seat in the shower allows your elderly parent to wash safely without worrying about falling or slipping.
- Raised toilet: A toilet with more height makes it easier for an aging parent who battles with body flexibility to sit down with ease.
- Rubber-backed bathmats: These prevent seniors from slipping on wet floors when they get out of the shower or bath.
- Walk-in shower: Removing a step-over entry minimises the risk of your parent tripping as they enter or leave the shower.
- Railing: Installing rails by the bath and inside the shower gives your aging parent appropriate support while washing and getting in and out of the bathtub.
While some modifications mean renovating your bathroom, you can keep costs down by using simple safety strategies such as non-slip products and support railing.
3. Do a Safety Audit of Your Home
Walking from room to room and identifying potential safety hazards can prevent nasty accidents from happening.
Handy tip: do a safety audit of your residence before your aging parents move in. Give yourself enough time to customise the spaces and remove items that could become a serious problem for relatives with age-related disabilities. Doing it before they arrive will prevent them from feeling self-conscious about the ways their frailty now impacts your life.
When checking each room take into consideration the following dangers:
- Loose throw rugs: These are tripping hazards for senior citizens, especially if balance is a common problem.
- Flooring: Tiles can be slippery while shaggy carpeting makes it harder for someone using a walker with wheels.
- Electrical cords: Keep these tucked away to avoid tripping accidents.
- Wheels on furniture: Remove wheels from chairs and tables that could become unstable when used by frail individuals.
- Frayed carpeting: This is particularly dangerous on stairs and should be replaced to avoid becoming a tripping hazard.
Consider taking exuberant pets outside whenever your parents are moving around the house. This can prevent them falling over your animals or being knocked down!
4. Consider Special Needs and Adaptations
If your aging parent is using a wheelchair you’ll need to consider putting in ramps, installing an automatic stair lift and widening doorways and passages. For a double-story home, convert a downstairs room into a bedroom for easier access. Having a ground floor bathroom is also better for parents with mobility problems.
A few more helpful hints:
- Installing a baby monitor for communication purposes allows a parent confined to their bed to ask for help should you be elsewhere in the house.
- Using remote-controlled blinds or curtains, lighting and sound systems gives your bedridden parent more independence.
- Door and window sensors alert you if your parent battling Alzheimer’s suddenly leaves the home.
With most older Australians over 65 years old living in households, age-proofing your home is essential for your senior parent’s independence and safety. Removing tripping hazards, installing assistive devices, re-arranging your furniture and using monitoring equipment makes it easier for you to care for your elderly relatives.
Improving senior safety in your home may require some costly modifications but if done properly, you can recover the costs should you ever sell your property. Furthermore, such adjustments reduce the risk of incurring expensive medical bills!
Keeping in mind the safety and comfort of your elderly parents makes it easier for you to manage your home for multigenerational living. Everybody wins!