Today, people are living longer and more and more of them are choosing to live in their own home for as long as they can. While this is good news for family members of the elderly, it also presents a unique set of challenges. As loved ones age, the houses they choose to stay in need to be updated to keep them safe.
Houses are full of danger for the elderly: stairs and wet showers can result in falls and poor lighting can cause bumps and bruises. If they want to live at home, then you need to think about addressing some of the more pressing dangers that can be found. Home adjustments and outright renovations can give both the elderly and their family members peace of mind.
The number one safety issue for seniors is accidental falls. As people age, they can lose their sense of balance and anything that gets in their way or trips them up can cause them to fall and possible cause serious injuries like concussions or broken bones.
There are a few simple preventative renovations anyone can do to help prevent these falls. First, install grab bars in all showers and tubs, as well as beside toilets, if possible. Wet surfaces are a major slipping hazard and having bars to hold on to getting in and out of the tub or on and off the toilet can provide the support the elderly need for safety.
All stairs — include outside steps — should have sturdy railings along their length. If the house is old, the existing railing may need to be tightened, or replaced all together.
Set Up for Health Care
Some seniors will need medical care administered as they age in their home. Whereas hospitals and senior living facilities are equipped for this contingency, chances are that the senior’s house is not. There are many agencies that provide home nursing care, so the only thing you need to worry about is setting them up for success.
Some medical equipment is small and rather portable, so there may not be a lot of renovations needed. Other equipment is bulky and needs a lot of electricity, so if your senior needs major equipment, then you may have to renovate their bedroom, or move their bedroom to another, larger room. You should make sure that the flooring can handle the added weight of medical equipment if it’s not on the ground floor, and you need to have the electrical outlets and wiring checked so the breaker box can handle the electricity usage.
Install Security Measures
If your senior will be spending a lot of time at home by themselves, you should look into installing an advanced security system that will offer 24/7 protection.
There are smoke detectors that are connected to an agency that continually monitor the home for fires. If the alarm is triggered, the agency calls the home; if no one answers, they automatically contact the fire department and send help. This prevents sleeping through the alarm and aids those who are hard of hearing.
Also, research total home security systems that monitor all doors and windows throughout the house. Homes of the elderly can be easy targets for break-ins, and having a constant eye your loved ones can give you both peace of mind. The better systems are connected to an agency that will alert police quickly if an alarm is tripped and there is no response from the homeowner.
The Smart Home
The beauty of the 21st century is that many devices and appliances are now a part of the internet of things. This has helped the rise of “smart homes,” or houses that are interconnected through the internet and can communicate with each other through the internet.
The smart home can be equipped with: smart thermostats that regulate the temperature with a programmable schedule that can be controlled through any computer or mobile device; stovetops that detect when they are no longer in use so they can turn themselves off to prevent burns and fires; and web-enabled front-door cameras that can be monitored by the homeowner to screen visitors and prevent thieves and scammers from entering.
All of these devices and more are available now to — not in the distant future — to help seniors live more peacefully and safely.
Many seniors want to live out the rest of their days in their own homes rather than in a nursing home or hospital. With a few safety renovations, this is possible.
Emily Newman has been a senior care worker for several years. She loves her work and is always going beyond the call of duty to make sure the people in her care are happy and comfortable. She has started to write articles sharing her tips in the hopes that 1 tip could make the world of difference to an elderly persons life.