Helping Your Senior Parent Stay Safe at Home
As our parents get older, we may have to make a decision about their living situation. Maybe you’ve suggested that your parent move in with you, or maybe you are considering something like an assisted living facility. While some people make the decision to leave their homes as they get older, many others have decided to age in place, which means they choose to remain in their own home as they age.
They have worked hard their whole life for what they have, and if they are comfortable in their home, why shouldn’t you do everything you can to help them stay there? Here are some suggestions for helping you aid your parent in staying safe and independent at home.
Address Mobility Issues
Many people begin to have mobility challenges as they get older. If you want your senior parent to remain in their own home, you should consider options for meeting these challenges.
If they have a two-story home or a basement, you may find them having challenges while navigating the stairs. Instead of avoiding those stairs, consider installing a stairlift, which will allow them to fully enjoy their home by providing them with the freedom they need to move around in it. There’s nothing wrong with protecting them from falling if stairs are becoming increasingly difficult for them to climb. Besides, they can fold the stair lift and cover it up with something if they really don’t want guests to know that they have one.
Other Mobility Aid Devices
If your parent has mobility issues, such as bad knees or hips, you may want to purchase a mobility aid device to help eliminate some of those issues. No, I’m not talking about using the stereotypical “senior aids.” I’m talking about getting a device that will help them move around and still feel independent (unless they like asking their kids or friends for help). Using a cane might not be “cool” but it can greatly improve mobility for some people. There are tons of cane designs that are really fun and don’t make seniors feel like they’re just there for support, but also for style.
If canes aren’t their cup of tea and you feel like they need more assistance, then you could also try purchasing a 3-wheel walker, but that’s up to them to decide what they’re most comfortable with.
Evaluate and Upgrade Your Home
Evaluate their home to determine if there are any upgrades or modifications you could do to make their life easier as they get older.
As our parents get older, bathing may become difficult. Installing handrails and walk-in bathtubs can help make it a little easier. Using non-slip bathmats in the bathroom can help prevent falls, which are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in those of us age 65 and over.
Advances in smart home technology can greatly improve a senior’s overall quality of life. IoT (Internet of Things) devices and appliances are connected through a network that uses the home’s Wi-Fi to allow elderly parents to control them with voice commands. These IoT devices and appliances will allow your parent to do things such as control the thermostat, play music, turn the television on and off, manage the home security system, and control the kitchen appliances all with the simple act of using their voice.
With new technologies continuously coming to the market (Amazon, gotta love it!), keep your eyes peeled for anything that you think could help your senior parent stay safe and independent at home.
Use Outside Resources
Even if your parent is used to doing things on their own like cooking and cleaning, it may become difficult to continue doing so as they age. You may want to have someone come in to help them with these basic household activities. Your local Area Agency on Aging may be able to provide you with information about other community resources as well, such as home-delivered meals and transportation assistance.
Getting older is a part of life that you should embrace for your parents and celebrate for the wonderful gift that it is. Aging doesn’t always have to result in changing the living situation or need to be thought of as embarrassing – everyone ages. Keeping these tips in mind can help you to maintain your elderly parent’s independence as they remain in their own home. These tips will also help you feel better about their safety as you can connect with your parents via the aforementioned technology upgrades.