Making your home safer is absolutely essential if you are going to be having your aged parents living with you. There are a number of things that people take for granted while they are in their prime that need to be accounted for when catering to older people. Loss of hearing, balance, and memory are things that older people need to cope with as they continue to age. Fortunately, there are a number of changes that can be made to a home to ensure it is safer for your aged parents.
1. Lighting
Having a well-lit home will help reduce the risk of falls and accidents for older people. Consider getting motion activated lights or even remote switches to eliminate the need for your parents to fumble around for a light switch. Additionally, make sure porches, driveways, and outdoor seating areas are also well lit.
2. Communication
Ensuring that your aged parents are able to communicate with others is essential, especially if they are in need of medical assistance for an emergency. To help improve the means of communication, consider installing monitors and intercoms in the house. This allows them to communicate with people throughout the house and eliminates the need for them to move (especially if they are in poor health). Additionally, making sure that there are telephones located in convenient areas in each room as well as your parents’ bedroom will ensure that they can call 999 if no one else is home.
3. Common hazards
While most adults may easily be able to avoid common hazards in the home, older people are much more likely to have an accident and as a result be injured. Common hazards such as:
  • Small steps in and out of rooms
  • Frayed rugs or rugs with corners that stick up
  • Electrical cords lying about in main areas
  • Low furniture or tables in main areas
Eliminating these various hazards can help dramatically decrease an older person’s risk for falling and injuries. Additionally, consider looking for tables with rounded edges, using non skid floor wax, and even ensuring that all rugs have adhesive on the bottom to prevent them from being a trip hazard. (To learn more about how to prevent common injuries in the home click here)
4. Rails and Supports
Rails and supports are imperative for a senior friendly home because older people need more assistance to get out of things than younger generations do. To ensure that your home is safer for your aged parents, consider putting sturdy rails and supports in these main areas:
  • In and out of entrances
  • Stairways
  • By steps (even single steps that lead in and out of rooms)
  • By the toilet
  • In the bath
  • By their bed
5. Flooring and Doors
We’ve already gone over ensuring that floors are cleaned with a non skid wax and that rugs are properly tended to, however consider putting more rugs on wood or tile flooring to allow for greater stability for your parents. If you have wooden stairs, consider purchasing a runner to go down them to allow for better grip and lowers the chances of a fall.
Additionally, older people often have increased difficulty with round knobs on doors. Consider changing these to levers instead to ensure that they are able to get in and out of rooms with fewer problems.
6. Aged Care Equipment
There are many manufacturers produce home care equipment specifically for older people to help increase their level of comfort. These can include special toilets, beds that rise up, assistive chairs and even motorized chairs that carry a person up and down the stairs.
If your aged parents find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, or to get up from their reading chair, then you should definitely consider contacting someone about installing a specialty bed and chair. These move upwards at a slow and steady pace to ensure that the person does not become dizzy or disoriented and are easily able to slide out and stand up.
Eliminating all of the unnecessary risks for older people can be difficult, however maximising the comfort and safety of your home for them can easily be done. Looking at all of the common hazards present in the house is a fantastic way to make any home safer for everyone involved, however ensuring that there is proper equipment, rails, lighting, and communication means available will dramatically improve the safety and comfort levels for seniors in your home!
– Ana is a blogger who loves to write about anything to do with health and home improvement. She was inspired to write this article when she helped her mother redecorate, adjust and buy home care equipment for her grandfather. She realised that to many people the look of the home is everything, without thinking of its functionality. Hopefully her article will open the eyes of many that it’s not all in the decoration, but functionality also.

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