The years pass quickly. You’re 50+ and that means your living parents are definitely seniors. If they’re in good health, fantastic! This is the time to discuss and make plans to help them stay in their home as long as possible by enhancing the home’s safety. Just as you can ‘child-proof,’ you can ‘senior-proof’ a home. Ask parents for their input regarding special needs and pay attention to the following concerns:
Entrances. If there are steps into the house, a handrail will reduce risk of falling. Light the entrance so people can see clearly and put reflector tape on each step. Increase safety by building a ramp, or gradual slope with a handrail.
Avoid Slipping Opportunities. Remove all rugs that are not attached or wall to wall. Use bio-degradable, non-skid wax and floor cleaners and eliminate slippery floors.
Bright lighting. Good lighting is important in reading areas, the kitchen, hallways and bathrooms.
Stairs. Keep them clutter free, brightly lit and have handrails- on both sides; reduce clutter everywhere.
Electrical cords. Place all lamps and appliances close to walls so that electrical cords don’t’ lay in traffic areas.
Bathroom. Put in raised toilet seats and grab bars. Use a textured bathmat or strips in tubs and shower stalls.
Lower water temperature. To avoid the possibility of scalding.
Shelves. Place items on shelves low enough for them to be reached easily- food, dishes or books.
Furniture. Remove low furniture from traffic areas. Place chairs closer together to make conversation easier for the hard of hearing. Ease getting in and out of low cushioned chairs and sofas and raise the height by placing a pillow or folded blanket under the cushions.
Next issue: in-home assistance and care services.
This fall Carol Hall and her partner, Dr. BJ Hawkins, are launching Hall & Hawkins- Caring Consultants for Seniors