Modifications that Make Your Elderly Parents’ Home More Safe
Falls and fires are two of the most common accidents that senior citizens make that cause injury. There are a number of adjustments and modifications that adult children can make to their parents’ homes that can prevent injuries or even death. Here are a few tips:
Eliminate tripping hazards: Since falls are the leading cause of home injury among seniors, a good thing to do is to pack away throw rugs which are common tripping hazards or use carpet tacks or double-sided tape to secure them. You may also need to adjust furniture so there are clear pathways to walk through. Also, position any electrical or phone cords along the walls. For hardwood steps, consider attaching a nonslip tread to each one to provide traction. You should also use nonslip rugs in all bathrooms.
Improve the lighting: Good lighting is essential for safe aging-in-place, so check wattage ratings on lamps and light fixtures, and install the brightest bulbs allowed. You can also purchase some dusk to dawn nightlights for the bathroom and in hallways that light up when the sun goes down. Mount some motion sensor lights outside the front and back doors and in the driveway that automatically come on when the residents come home after dark.
Install grab bars: These can significantly reduce the risk of bathroom falls. Install them where residents enter the shower or tub and on a wall inside the stall, and don’t use grab bars that attach with suction. They should be affixed to the wall stud, and select bars with surfaces that are slightly textured and easier to grip.
Ensure railings are stable: Wherever your parent step, such as stairways, entryways, or basements, the railings need to be sturdy, and ideally, they should be on both sides of the steps.
Prevent cooking fires: There are several affordable products you can purchase to help senior citizens prevent home cooking fires, such as BurnerAlert discs that attach to a stove’s knobs and will continuously blink or beep after the stove has been in use for a preset amount of time, and Ome smart knobs that can control a stove’s heating settings from an app. Or you can invest in a more expensive iGuard-Stove sensor that shuts the stove off when it doesn’t detect motion for five minutes.
Install smoke alarms: Install smoke alarms throughout the house in strategic locations, including the entry, master bedrooms, living and/or family room, and the kitchen. They will alert the residents when smoke or carbon dioxide is detected.
Add fire extinguishers: Get portable multipurpose fire extinguishers for each level of your mom and dad’s house and in the garage. And make sure your parents know how to use them.
Consider a medical alert: To ensure your parents enjoy some peace of mind, and yours as well, consider getting them a medical alert device that comes with a wearable SOS button that would allow them to call for help if one of them was to fall or need assistance.