As you move further into adulthood, a remarkable thing happens, your parents do too. And as your parents age, it’s important to balance their desire for independence with your desire for their safety. Aging brings a host of new concerns, from more risky falls to making sure they can safely move throughout the home and can get help if they need it.
There are things that you can do to make your parents safer though. From going through safety proofing in the home, to taking them for regular check ups, you can encourage safety without having to sacrifice independence.
This article is going to overview some of the most popular questions that come up with keeping safety in mind.
Tips for cutting down on falls
- Assess current (and new) medications to ensure they’re not negatively impacting your parents’ sense of balance. Some medications have been known to cause dizziness.
- Encourage regular rounds of exercise to improve both balance and strength
- Keep vision testing up to date
- Make your home as safe a space as possible
Things to consider when making your home safer
A lot of accidents happen right at home. A fall in the shower, a slip on the stairs, a lot of these accidents can be prevented by keeping hazards in mind and doing what you can to safety-proof your home.
Keep the following questions in mind when asking yourself the most important question of all, is my home safe for my aging parent?
Things to watch for generally
How cluttered is your home?
Clutter is danger for a senior trying to walk from point A to point B. Do your best to ensure that clutter is kept to a minimum, particularly on the floors, to reduce the chance of a nasty fall.
Can you move through rooms easily?
Are you bumping into furniture? Tripping over area rugs or extension cords? These things may well need to moved, even possibly removed, to ensure a lower threat level. Keep in mind that extension cords can be made less of a hazard simply by taping them to the wall, or arranging them so that they don’t fall on the floor.
What are the stairs like?
Stairs need to be a focus of safety proofing efforts, as they represent a huge trouble spot for seniors. When you’re walking up and down your stairs, are you noticing any uneven or broken steps? What about clutter left behind on the stairs? Don’t forget to consider the lighting of the area to ensure your parents can actually see the steps they have to take. Also consider the use of a handrail (if there isn’t one already) to make it especially easy for people to get up and down with support.
Things to watch for on stairs
- Support (handrails)
Always ensuring stairs are kept free of clutter, well lit, and in good repair goes a long way in your efforts. Your parents will thank you for it!
Kitchen safety can be worked through simply by envisioning your particular parent needing to make something. Can they reach all of the ingredients they will need? Is there a stool available if they need it, and is that stool in good repair? Is the kitchen well lit so that they can see the items that they need? These are the factors to watch for in the kitchen.
Things to watch for in the kitchen
- Support (ladders or step stools)
Bathrooms can be a huge source of accidents for seniors, and should be considered another significant trouble spot in the home. This is primarily because of the slippery nature of bathrooms, and the amount of getting up and down. Consider the following factors when increasing safety in your bathroom.
Things to watch for in the bathroom
- Grab bars are a great way to increase the safety of getting up and down for seniors, particularly in and out of the tub.
- Slippery floors – Ensure they are kept as dry as possible, and install non slip mats where it cannot be helped.
Things to consider in the bedroom
The name of the game here is easy. Your goal will be in keeping the bedroom easy to get around, and well lit. To do this, avoid cluttering up the floor (with cords or clutter), and ensure that there are several lamps that your parents can reach for easy lighting.
These tips don’t guarantee your parents safety, nothing really can. But they do ensure that you will have done everything in your power to prevent an accident that may not need to happen, simply by taking some time to consider the safety of your home.