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Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

Securing your home for elderly parents

As our parents age, become more frail and reliant on others, it may be an inevitability that they will have to move into your home as unassisted living is no longer a possibility. Ultimately you want your home to be a place where every member of your family feels comfortable and welcome, but a few minor changes and adjustments may need to be made in order to best accommodate a frail parent.

Limited mobility and impaired reflexes are common issues we face as we age. It’s important to focus on home safety tactics that address these issues, while still preserving a sense of independence.

Here are a few upgrades to consider when securing your home for elderly parents:

Replace dangerous flooring

If your loved one has balance issues or is particularly unsteady on their feet it may be worth considering changing flooring such as high pile carpets which can be replaced with a firm low pile. Review the slip rating of any hardwood and tiled floor areas and remove any loose rugs or mats.

Avoid rugs

Rugs are slip and trip hazard if ever there were any – if your home features rugs, it may be time to remove them, or secure them with a non-slip pad underneath or a grip tape.

Add a shower bench

This will help reduce the risk of slipping in the shower and will also install a sense of independence to your loved one who will be able to bathe unassisted. There are many benches that stand on their own inside a shower or bath, but a transfer bench adds a little extra help when transferring your loved one in and out of the shower or bath.

Install adequate lighting

Along with imbalance issues, many elderly parents will struggle with their eye sight. Ensure your home is well-lit and offers easy access when locating light switches. Ideally, you would want your elderly loved one to avoid stairs where possible, but if it’s totally unavoidable, ensure stairways are well lit by adding lighting under each stair or a lit-up hand rail.

Install grab bars and hand rails

One of the most fail-proof ways to up your home safety is by installing hand rails in strategic spots throughout the house. Staircases, bathrooms, hallways and bedrooms are the best spots for installation to add further stability for your loved one as they move about your home with a degree of confident independence.

The changes to your home don’t need to be drastic or overly expensive, but in order to avoid unnecessary costs in the future in the case of an avoidable accident, these simple upgrades may just help in the long run!

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