The average life expectancy is rising in all areas of the globe, thanks to modern medicine and better healthcare. With that said, more and more families are becoming responsible for caring for their aging relatives. As we grow older, our brain shrinks, which can result in memory loss, balance issues, hearing loss, and other health-related issues like weaker bones and muscles. This can make normal daily tasks more difficult and even dangerous.
If you’re worried about your aging parents slipping, falling, or getting hurt in your home, there are certain precautions and changes you can make to keep them safe. Read below to find our tips on turning your home into a safe space for aging adults.
Invest in helpful technologies
Keeping your parents safe may be a matter of investing in the latest technologies designed for seniors. With so many modern advancements in the healthcare industry, aging individuals have a plethora of helpful products to rely on. Here are two examples that you might consider:
- Essential tremor bracelet: If your aging parent struggles with essential tremor, doing tasks with their hands, such as eating, drinking, and writing are a challenge. Today, there are wrist devices for tremors; this wristband technology calibrates to the wearer’s tremor and reduces the involuntary and rhythmic shaking related to this ailment. By gently stimulating the nerves that cause essential tremor, this device may help your aging parents enjoy each day more and provide you with added peace of mind.
- Alert necklaces: Many seniors benefit from alert necklaces, designed to be worn around the neck. These devices can be used to call for emergency services or contact family members in the event of a fall or another type of emergency.
Reduce the risk of falls
As you age, you tend to lose your balance, which can cause elderly parents to fall much easier. In fact, falls are one of the leading causes of injury for seniors. To reduce the risk of falls, consider implementing these safety tips in your home:
- Remove decorative throw rugs, as these often don’t have a rubber backing that grips the floor firmly and can cause walkers and canes to get caught
- Clean up clutter, such as shoes, clothes, electrical wires, and other objects your parents can trip over
- Make sure your dog or any pet is in a secure area, and all toys are stored neatly in a bin
- Give your parents non-slip footwear or socks they can wear inside
- Add non-slip strips in the shower and bathtub
- Place non-slip wax on stairs and floors
As you walk throughout your home, you may realize how many obstacles your elderly parents have to be aware of to avoid falling. You can always have a professional come in and conduct a home safety evaluation to give you an overview of the safety of your home and tips on areas to improve.
Make the bathroom safe
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for your aging parents due to wet water making the ground slick and slippery. Not only can your parents fall in the bathroom, but they can also scald themselves from hot water in the shower or when using the sink. Here are some ways you can make your bathroom safer:
- Install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet
- Replace your old toilet with a new toilet that’s higher up and has handlebars, so it’s easier for them to sit and stand
- Plug in a nightlight so they can easily see where they’re going when the sun goes down
- Replace your bathtub with a walk-in shower
- Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F or lower to prevent your parents from accidentally burning themselves
- Place a bathing chair and a hand-held shower head in the shower so that your parents can clean hard to reach places
- Place a rubber mat in the shower so they can have a firmer grip on the ground
There are many ways your aging parents can injure themselves in your bathroom. With these low-cost tips, you’ll be able to make your bathroom much safer.
Inspect the kitchen
The kitchen can also be unsafe for your aging parents. To ensure their kitchen is safe for cooking, eating, and walking through, consider these tips:
- Place all frequently used items on the counter or on the bottom shelf cabinets so they can be accessed easily
- Place a rubber mat in front of the sink to prevent slipping
- Go through their refrigerator and pantry frequently—the small print on food items can be hard to read for aging eyes, so they might not realize food has expired
- Senior-friendly appliances that are easy to use and understand
The kitchen should be accessible and safe, and these tips will ensure this happens.
Turning your home into a safe haven for your aging parents doesn’t require a lot of time and money. Simple fixes, such as rubber mats, handles in the bathroom, and brighter lights, can be made instantly. Some changes may require more time and work, such as replacing the toilet with a higher one or installing a walk-in shower. With these tips on how to make your home safe for aging parents, you’ll have peace of mind knowing Mom and Dad are happy and safe.