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“Seniorize” Your Parents’ Home

Care homes can be wonderful for aging seniors who need some assistance with essential living skills, but not all seniors are thrilled about moving out of their homes.  This is not surprising, most elderly when asked would say they would rather see out their final days at home.   If your parent is teetering on the independent vs. dependent scale, you may be able to defer moving him or her out of the home if you take the time to “seniorize” your parents’ home.  It might take some effort, but well worth it if you parent can smile knowing he or she can keep some independence and live at home for the rest of their life.

Injury free atmosphere

Not only do you want to provide your aging parents with the ability to be independent, but you also want to keep them injury free. With that in mind, it is important to know how you can make the home safer for your parents to reside in.

Here are some great tips as to how you can adequately “seniorize” your parent’s home:

1.    Rid the home of hazards.  Go through each room and look for a potential hazard. Get rid of any raised doorway thresholds, get rid of objects that are in walkways, remove rugs that are considered unsafe, and declutter each room.

2.    Fire-proofing. Be sure that the house has an adequate amount of smoke alarms and check to see if they work.  Also, put a carbon monoxide detector up.  It is not a bad idea to put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and teach your parents how to use it.  Discuss the best fire-escape routes with your parents should a fire break out.

3.    Bathroom safety.  For aging parents, the bathroom can pose many dangers so it is important to install safety measures to reduce the risk of slips and falls. The first thing you can do is to be sure that the rugs on the floor are non-slip.  Test them out yourself, because one little slip on a rug can cause your parent to bruise or break a bone far to easiliy. The next thing you can do is install a walk-in shower or walk in bath so that your parents can simply step in and out of the shower or bath without worrying about slipping and falling.   Installing grab bars in and out of the walk-in shower is advised as well. Changing to a walk-in shower is easier than you may think and is well worth the investment.

4.    Everyday things. Sit down and ask your parents what they are having problems with so you can help them make some changes. If they tell you they cannot hear the telephone ring, you can look into getting them a louder ringtone. If they are slipping on the floors, you can install more rugs or carpet. If they are trouble reaching items on top shelves, you can move the items to a lower shelf.  Ask them about using the toilet, if this causes a problems toilets can be raised or grab rails added.

The important thing is just to take the time to really evaluate how safe your parents’ home is and make any necessary changes.  You do not have to do it all at one time, but that is the best way to go. If you are on a budget, be sure to tackle the projects one by one, but it is a good idea that you go with the safety issues in the bathroom first, as that is where many senior accidents occur.

You and your parents will feel great about the safety level of the home and there will be less chance of serious accidents or injuries occurring.

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