Anyone who has had a loved one who is declining mentally, physically, or both, and they refuse to leave their home knows this can leave you in somewhat of an uncomfortable position. You want to ensure the welfare of your loved one though you want to ensure their happiness as well, and unfortunately, these aren’t always the same thing. Many people today would prefer to age in place, and if they are going to decline, they would like to do it in familiar and comfortable surroundings. This growing trend has left many aging in an environment that is often detrimental and even harmful. The benefit of a facility is that they have trained staff on hand at all times, as well as the equipment and handicap access necessary for many seniors. If your loved one is dead set on aging in place; however, there are many useful tips and tricks to ensure they continue to age in the area as long and as safely as possible. Minimizing all the apparent hazards is an excellent place to start, and after that, the list below has five essential suggestions to make any home instantly safer.
- Organization- Ensure that the house is clean and organized, with floors clear of any clutter or rugs. If your loved one has a lot of stuff in their home, now is an excellent time to begin downsizing. The less tripping hazards on the ground and the more extensive the walkways, the safer they will be. Avoid rugs, and kitchen mats as these can be a tripping hazard. If you need a carpet to be sure, it has a non-skid backing of some kind.
- Update/repair flooring- Smooth, hard flooring such as hardwood floors is the best for maneuverability though carpet is by far the more forgiving if you are to fall. Carpet can be hard navigating in a wheelchair or with a walker, however. If changing the flooring is not an option, you may want to consider having the carpet stretched to eliminate bumps and wrinkles that could be a potential tripping hazard.
- Transfer benches and raised seats- If mobility is an issue, you may consider adding a transfer bench for getting in and out of the tub/shower. Also, adding a riser to the toilet can make it much easier to sit and stand after using the restroom.
- Nightlights- Having plenty of lighting, especially at nighttime, can be key to avoiding any late-night accidents. Ensure that there is optimal lighting throughout the home in all places your senior might visit during the night. The bathroom, for example, is a big one, and it is imperative that your loved one has plenty of lighting when they get up during the night to use the restroom.
- Consider hiring a caregiver- Many companies such as Find Us @ Home provide caregivers to assist your loved one with all activities of daily living and much more! Private caregivers are also available though it would be wise to use caution and vet them carefully before hiring anyone you are not previously familiar with or who is not licensed, bonded, and insured.