As people continue to live longer through advances in medicine and increased adoption of healthy lifestyles, many middle-aged adults are finding themselves concerned with the well-being of their elderly parents and relatives. This often comes after they have finished raising their children and are looking forward to having more time to travel or devote to other interests or hobbies they did not have time for in the past.
Caring for the elderly at home is different from raising children in that plainly speaking; they are not children and are entitled to as much autonomy as they are capable of handling. Often this means that elderly parents will choose to remain in their own home for as long as they are physically able. This can lead to feelings of resentment and stress on either side of the fence.
If you have elderly parents, it is understandable that you want to do what is best for them and keep them comfortable in the familiar surroundings of the home they have created. One thing can do to ensure their safety and wellbeing is to make sure their home is safe. Home safety for the elderly is important because this group is the most susceptible to severe injuries or even deaths from accidents in the home.
Most of the deaths attributed to accidents in the home include falls, fires, accidental poisoning, extreme weather, and choking. For those who are over 80 years old, over 75% of accidental deaths occur from falls.
There are many ways you can lessen the possibility of accidents or deaths from falls by taking the time to inspect your parents or relatives’ homes for potential dangers. This not only will protect them from harm, but it will give you some peace of mind.
To lessen the possibility of falls, you will want to make sure that any throw rugs or floor mats in the home have a non-skid rubbing backing. Even better, make sure that all rugs are secured to the floor to avoid tripping.
If their home has stairs, you will want to make sure that the handrails are not wobbly. Additionally, you will want to install a second set of handrails on the stairs so they are present on both sides. A helpful tip is to paint the bottom step a different color so that the elderly person realizes it is the bottom step and does not misjudge their footing.
Many falls also occur in the bathroom especially when climbing in and out of the bathtub or shower. If grab bars are not already installed in these areas, you will want to add this to your list of improvements to make.
Tub floors and tile are often slippery when wet; therefore, it is advisable to add non-skid treads to these surfaces. Any rugs or bath mats should also have non-skid rubber backing to prevent slip and falls. You may also want to suggest the use of a bath chair during showering, in which the installation of a hand-held shower attachment may come in handing.
It’s important to know that there are services available that can provide home help for the elderly without the need for them to enter an assisted living or nursing home facility before it becomes necessary for their safety. These services, depending on the area they live may include home delivered meals for the elderly and visits to check on their well-being and alert you if there are any concerns.
Check to see what services are available in your area to assist you in your quest to care for your elderly parents or relatives.
Image via stock.xchng by macanudo