The thought of your aging parents or other elderly relatives living all by themselves can be nerve-wracking. However, you won’t be able to stop them if they want to enjoy and maintain their same level of independence.
Yes, their faculties may be declining, and you may be worried about them. It is perfectly natural to do so. Nevertheless, there are a number of things you can do to make sure they stay safe while you enjoy your well-deserved peace of mind.
Five Ways To Keep Them Safe
With time, your aging loved ones will need more and more care. If you aren’t able to provide this care to them personally, you can always find ways to accommodate their needs and keep them safe in their own home. It is all a matter of looking for some ideas, adopting a few best practices, and trying out a few technological solutions.
Here are a few things you can do if you are looking for ways to keep your aging relatives safe:
- Eliminating Potential Hazards
At least 55 percent of the fall injuries that older people experience occur right within their homes. Twenty-three percent of the rest occur around their homes.
Most such falls can be avoided by fixing potential hazards in and around your home. It may not even cost you a lot if a few simple adjustments can do the trick. For instance:
- You can make sure every nook and corner of the home is well-lit.
- Make sure the floor is clear of any throw rugs, electrical cords, or anything else that might cause your aging parents to trip and fall.
- Put orange tape at doorways, to alert your parents of any changes in floor surfaces such as tile to wood or carpet.
- Install fire safety equipment or alarms at appropriate places.
If your aging parents are living in an older home, you may want to consider some updated options, such as widening the doorways and building ramps.
- Making the Bathrooms Safe
Bathrooms are those places where maximum accidents happen, especially those involving seniors. There are a few things you need to look into, if you want to minimize such accidents:
- Install anti-skid flooring in shower area or use mats with non-slip bottoms. You might want to skid-proof the tub too.
- Make sure the door locks can be opened from both sides.
- Install bathing aids such as grab bars and safety rails on the sides of the toilet as well as on the walls of the bath/shower stall.
- Make it easier for them to identify the cold and the hot faucets.
- Make sure the water heater is turned to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This will help to avoid burns from scalding temperatures.
- Improving Mobility
Mobility becomes a major issue as people start aging, especially if they have arthritis or any other mobility-related problems. Here are a few things you can consider to make the home easier for them to move around:
- Make sure the entrances are free of steps. Building ramps would be a better alternative.
- Replace swing doors with pocket doors.
- Consider installing an elevator or an electric stair lift if the home has multiple floors.
- Make sure the doors and the doorways provide walker or wheelchair access.
- Setting up Surveillance and Monitoring Systems
You can increase your peace of mind if you install the necessary equipment to help monitor your parents 24/7. Set up webcams in every room of the house so that you can keep an eye on your loved ones even when you are not there. Choose the ones that come with high-definition images, night vision, and two-way talk. Make sure you get alerts on your smartphone whenever the camera detects any movement.
- Making it Easier to Handle Emergencies
If your parents are suffering from any medical conditions that put them at high risk, you might even consider investing in a medical alert system. This will automatically connect them to a call center in case of an emergency. Top10.com compared the best medical alert systems in the market and compiled a list that might come in handy for you.
Make it a point to place a phone extension in every room of the house, in case your parents don’t have the habit of carrying their cell phones with them. You can also consider making them wear an emergency contact system that comes with a panic button.
Make Your Home Senior-Friendly
Take a walk around your home to make sure there are no potential hazards that can put your aging parents in danger. Pay attention to every nook and corner and make sure things are accessible to them. If need be, get a professional to inspect your home and give you a few suggestions.