Preparing Your Home for Elderly Parents


Tips for Making Your Home Safe for Elderly Parents

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By Eisla Sebastian
The cost of assisted living communities and retirement homes coupled with the troubles the economy has experienced over the last decade has made it necessary for many families to take in their elderly parents. If you find yourself in this position it is a good idea to make a few simple adjustments to your home so that your elderly parents will be safe and to make caring for them easier to do. These adjustments can be completed over a weekend.
Install Rails
The first thing that you will want to do is install railing systems in your home. Rails will need to be installed in hallways, near your parents’ bed and in the bathroom. Rail systems can be purchased from medical supply companies, mail order catalogues and from department stores.
Set Up Their Bedroom
Even though you will be living together you want to ensure that both you and your parents are able to have a little privacy when it is desired. This means that their area of the home needs doors that can be shut and that it contains what they need, like a television, phone and places to sit and lay down. A small refrigerator that is positioned high enough for easy access is another great addition to their section of the house for snacks, medications and cold drinks.
Secure Your Flooring
Tripping hazards are a common cause of injuries in the elderly. You can help your parent(s) to avoid tripping and falling by securing your flooring. If you have carpeting then you will want to go around and make sure that there aren’t areas of the carpeting that has come loose, you will want to re-tack the edges of your carpet and you will want to make sure the transition zones are smooth.If you have hard floors then you will want to make sure that any area rugs that are lying around are non-skid, or that they have non-skid pads placed under them. If your elderly parents use a walker or have ambulation impairments you may just want to get rid of the area rugs all together except in areas where they are out of the high traffic zones of the home.
Accessibility Issues
If your parents use wheelchairs then you will need to make your home wheelchair accessible. This will include building a ramp to at least one entry point, widening doorways (in some cases) and setting up a roll-in shower. If you have a little extra money to play with you can also set up remote entry access systems. These systems will provide your parents with a remote control unit that they can push to unlock and open the exterior doors of your home. This is a great option for people with fine motor skill impairments or who have partial paralysis.

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