How To Seniorize Your Home: Making Your Home Safe For An Elderly Parent

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Just like the process of baby-proofing your home is very important for the safety of your little one, it's also important to make sure your house is safe for your live-in elderly parent. As a parent ages, they become more fragile. This makes living at home risky, and sometimes even difficult. Not only do elderly people have a harder time getting around, but side effects from medications and health problems will increase the potential for injury. Seeing that the leading cause of fatal injuries for people aged 65 and older is falling, it's obvious that making your home safe for your parent should be a number one concern. Here are a few easy ways to seniorize your home so it will be a safe and comfortable place for your elderly parent to live:

1. Make Safety Your Primary Concern

Here is a list of things you can do to make your home safer for the elderly parent living with you:

  • Place a smoke alarm on every floor of your home, and outside every bedroom. Check the batteries regularly.

  • Put a couple carbon monoxide detectors in your home, especially near bedrooms.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, as well as near the fireplace or wood-burning stove, if you have one.

  • Make sure your porch, stairways, and outside walkways are always well-lit.

  • Use noise-activated light switches in the rooms your elderly parent uses most, especially the bedroom. This way, your mom or dad can turn the lights on or off with a clap of their hands.

  • Install stair lifts so your parent can easily get to other floors of your home.

  • Install a wheelchair stair lift if your parent is wheelchair bound.

  • If you have enough money and your home can accommodate it, install an elevator to get between levels.

2. Bathroom Safety

It's very common for elderly folks to slip and fall in the bathroom. Here are things you can do to help prevent your parent from falling in the bathroom:

  • Install a shower chair and/or bath bench.

  • Install grab handles near the toilet and tub.

  • Put a nonskid mat in your tub, outside of the tub, and in front of the toilet.

  • Have your elderly parent use a long-handled brush or a mitten with straps to make bathing easier.

  • Teach your parent how to get into the shower or bathtub with his or her weakest leg first.

  • Have your parent always get out of the tub or shower with his or her strongest side first.

3. Removal Or Repair Of Household Hazards

Since senior citizens often have trouble with balance and tripping, it's imperative that you take some time to remove or repair any items that may cause a fall. Here are some suggestions:

  • Remove throw rugs.

  • Take out any raised doorway thresholds.

  • Use nonskid floor wax.

  • Repair any raised areas of flooring and loose carpet.

  • Keep electrical cords and furniture out of walking paths.

  • Put rubber tips on the bottom of your elderly parent's walker or cane.

  • Put nightlights in bathrooms and hallways.

  • Make sure the railing next to every set of stairs is secure.

  • Sprinkle sand or salt on sidewalks and steps in the winter time.

  • Make sure your parent doesn't walk around in socks on bare floors.

If you make all these changes and improvements to your home before your elderly parent moves in, then you are well on your way to seniorizing your home. You can rest assured that you have greatly increased the safety of your home for your elderly parent. These are only some possible improvements. Don't hesitate to take advantage of others that can help keep your parent safe.