How to Redesign A House for Your Aging Parents?

January 25, 2017 developer Comments

When we age, we deal with significant lifestyle changes and nothing is truer than for those who are living in a home for elderly parents or a senior living facility. Even when living in a retirement community the individual will experience a whole new approach to living. There are ways to adapt the senior living area to ensure the location is a safe as possible.

After all, seniors want to enjoy life, not worry about safety, and you want to make sure that when in a home for elderly parents, you kin are safe, happy, and secure. In this way, you can remain confident that the elderly is living a happy and productive lifestyle. One of the big risks seniors face is falling. Thankfully there are means for adapting a home environment to reduce the risk of potential injuries and to ensure the comfort of the senior.

Upgrade the Lighting

For people ages 65 or older, falls are and in fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that out of every three seniors, one will fall this year. It is the consequences of such a fall that the elderly deal with – some falls lead to only minor injuries, but many can lead to significant injuries or even death. The leading cause of nonfatal and fatal injuries for people who are 65 and older. The first thing you can do as a defense against falls is to ensure the lighting in the senior living facility, home for elderly parents, or retirement community is adequate for fall prevention.

Dim lighting can lead to falls as it can make spills or other fall hazards more difficult to see and the elderly commonly have issues with diminished sight. Thus, stairwells, bathrooms, and hallways should be fitted with nightlights.

 Check the rest of the senior home for spots where there may be shaded areas of dim lightings (consider closets if they are large or pantries too, which is an excellent place for motion sensored lights running from battery power and which turn off by themselves when no motion is detected). Check the areas closest to the bed in the bedroom and near the bedroom’s entrance as well.

Check out the senior as they navigate through the house or area to see how well they walk and whether they have trouble seeing in different areas. You might want to consider installing lamps that are easy to operate by touch or that are close by and easy to read.

Check Flooring for Safety Issues

Of those who are 65 or older, some 800K injuries stem from floors, landings, ramps, and stairs, as a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission reports following a 2011 study of the patients seen in the hospital emergency departments.  Every room needs to be examined for issues that might instigate a fall through slipping on something. Carpets need to be taped down and should have no buckling.  If there is something in the way of walking like clutter, it must be moved, and electrical cords and phone cords need to be tucked away.

Examine all paths to make sure there are no obstacles that might serve as a fall hazard.  It is a good idea to invest in non-slip mats for the kitchen and bathroom as well.  Stairs should have treads put on them to ensure good grip when climbing or descending them.  Sidewalks outside need to be accessible, clean, and debris free.  You can also put an anti-slip coating on floors if desired.  Also makes sure the senior has good shoes with adequate traction.

Put Fire Preventative Tools in the Kitchen Area

When getting older a senior might be struggling with issues related to dementia.  This can definitely lead to problems in the kitchen, especially when one’s memory slips from time to time. To keep the kitchen area safe and to prevent fires from happening because a burner is left on, there are several safety measures you can take. Buying a microwave is a good option because it is safer to use than a burner on the stove.

You can invest in temperature controlled cookware. You can stop the elderly from being near the stove at any time, and you can take over the food preparations to prevent injuries. There are also food delivery services and things like Meals on Wheels in various locations to help the elderly out with meals and food.

Make Use Of A Reputable Medical Response System

Yes, you’ve seen them, the medical alert systems where a really bad actress or actor yells out, “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”   Now, while the commercials might not be convincing the technology backing the commercial is what is impressive. Instead of just call buttons these days, the advanced units have GPS devices for locating the elderly – excellent for those who might wander – and the higher end of fall prevention technologies exposes you to this type of feature. If the senior has a heart attack and falls unconscious, the software notifies the doctor and the ambulance is called.

Make The Bathroom Fall-Proof

Falls in the bathroom are common in the evening hours, especially when the elderly are tired and sleepy. It’s a good idea to have grab bars installed to help with any existing balance issues and to lend support to the senior while using the facilities. Handrails and grab bars are popular options for installation. A high rise toilet is another option so the elderly does not have to bend down so far and risk one’s balance.  A shower chair will help in preventing falls.  Handheld shower heads are also recommended over wall installed units so the senior has ease of access when it comes to showering.  You also have more costly options like walk in tubs that can be professionally installed.

While these might seem like good options, you have to understand that most of them require a tremendous investment and still do not 100 percent safeguard the senior. That is why senior living options are the best option for many seniors who cannot safely reside in their home anymore.

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