Life is interesting. We spend our early years of adulthood desperate to flee the nest and gain independence in the world. However, after a long and productive life, many of us end up craving for home, sweet home and a little bit of peace, quiet and safety.
Speaking of safety, for some seniors, moving in with their children seems like the best solution since they might no longer have the ability to care for themselves. Your parents gave their lives to care for you as an infant and adolescent, and the feeling of being able to repay the favor and look after them in their later years is priceless. However, it’s important to note that seniors need special care and assistance. If you are considering moving your parents into your home, read through these tips on making your home safe and accessible for your folks.
Check for Home Safety Hazards
As we age, the health of our skeletal system declines due to a lack of available calcium to strengthen bones and joints. Seniors experiencing calcium deficiency may develop chronic skeletal diseases such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis. A weakened skeletal system makes a fall a dangerous event for any senior.
A fall could result in a broken bone or joint. Seniors undergoing major invasive surgery are more prone to complications with anesthetic during the procedure and developing an infection after the operation.
Therefore, it’s a prudent move to assess every room for any safety hazards before moving your folks into your home. Use anti-slip mats in the shower and outside the shower door. Ensure that all your rugs in the house are fixed and won’t slip. Install handrails on stairways and make sure that every room in the house is well-lit.
File down any sharp corners on tabletops of kitchen counters or use rubber bumpers on edges to prevent accidents.
Upgrade Bathrooms and Bedrooms
Bathrooms present numerous hazards for seniors. Install grab bars next to the toilet, in the shower and around the bath.
Grab rails prevent slips and help your parents to their feet while they are getting out of the shower or bath. Slip-proof the shower as already described and widen the doorway to accommodate a wheelchair if one or both of your parents struggle with walking.
If you don’t have the budget to refurbish your entire door, then consider installing offset or expandable door hinges. These hinges add up to 2 inches of extra width to your doorway, and they don’t cost a fortune. Make sure that all exterior doors open into the home and think about installing swing doors to eliminate the need of stepping back to open a door.
Even though you’ve moved your folks into your home, there’s still going to be times when you’re not around to keep an eye on them. Teach your parents how to use a smartphone and load the local emergency numbers into their address book.
However, older adults are somewhat tech-resistant, so the chances of them having their phone on them if they take a fall aren’t good. It is most likely that they’ll leave it in the charging bay and forget about it. The cell phone won’t help them if they take a fall and can’t get up to reach the phone.
Medical smartwatches are a fantastic and pragmatic alternative. The device straps to their wrist like a regular watch, measuring their vitals and alerting you of any sudden increases in blood pressure or heart rate beyond the normal range.
Link the smartwatch to a professional healthcare service for active monitoring of your folk’s health while you are away from home. Check out this online review of medical alert smartwatches to assist you with caring for your parents.
Meet with a Specialist
Consult with a certified aging-in-place specialist and a licensed contractor to outline a strategy for taking care of your folks. The chances are that you haven’t thought of everything you need to provide them with the support they need around your home. A specialist will create a customized plan for your home and your parents based on your budget and requirements.
Contractors can arrange any building code permissions and give you an accurate estimate of what it will cost you to “elderly-proof” your home. Make sure that you select a contractor certified by the local building authorities. Take to social media and review their business to get an idea of other families that have used their service.
Your parents deserve your help in their later years of life. They gave you everything when you were too young to fend for yourself; now it’s your turn to provide the support. Use these few tips to make your parents transition into your home a smooth and seamless experience that the whole family can enjoy.