How do I make the house safer for my aging parents?

When parents start aging, quite a few things change. This includes their daily routine, food preferences, and even the way they commute. In addition to these changes, their physical and mental health also starts to decline.

This is why it’s not uncommon to find them searching for something they kept somewhere and forgot or bump into furniture on their way to the kitchen. So, in order to make life easier for them and prevent accidents, it’s always good to make some modifications to their home.

1. Do an inspection of the place

A quick inspection will help you identify potential safety hazards around the house. This could be anything ranging from absence of handrails on the sides of stairs to the height of the bathtub or placement of the furniture.

Also consult with your parents to ensure that you’ve taken everything into account before commencing home modifications. Once you have prepared a checklist you can move onto fixing the identified issues.

2. Or consult with a geriatric care manager

If you are unsure about what you need to do. It’s a good idea to bring a geriatric care manager on-board. A geriatric care manager is a licensed professional who specialises in caring for seniors and can help you understand the requirements of elderly care.

These professionals carry out home assessments for the elderly to help identify the problem areas and suggest ways to fixing them. They can also provide advice on other aspects of senior care such as devising short-term and long-term care plans, providing emotional and medical support.

3. Get the big stuff done first

Once you are aware of what needs to be done, it’s better to get the renovation and modification done first. Small changes such as moving the furniture around and removing rugs and mats can be done once the renovation is complete.

Generally these modifications include:

  • Fixing bulbs and tubelights to ensure that lighting is adequate particularly around staircases and in hallways
  • Putting handrails along stairs to reduce the risk of tripping  
  • Installing safety grab bars particularly in bathrooms to reduce the risk of slipping and falling
  • Placing controls and switches lower to ensure that they are reachable, if you parents use wheelchairs

4. Making other small adjustments

Once you have made the major changes, you can move onto the quick fixes. They may seems small but will help your parents in moving around more safely and give you peace of mind. To make the home a safer place you can:

  • Remove any small rugs which can cause your parents to slip and place rubber-backed mats in the bathrooms for added safety
  • Move wires and electric cords closer to the walls
  • Move furniture away from entrances of rooms, staircases, and hallways to help them move around without bumping into things, particularly at night
  • Place a shower chair in the bathroom to make bathing easier for them
  • Replace the standard shower head with a hand-held one
  • Reduce clutter
  • Reorganise the kitchen to make it easier for them to take out and place back essential items such as cookware, crockery and spices
  • Label and keep their medicines in an accessible place
  • Place post-it notes on the fridge or near the phone to help them write done important numbers and other things

5. Use a tracking system

Even when you’ve done everything you can to make their home a safe place for your parents, it’s natural to worry. This is why it is a good idea to get a wearable device or tracker that can help you check-in on your parents and also allow them to reach you in case they need any assistance.

Our LocateWatch and LocateTracker are designed to help seniors while giving caregivers peace of mind. GPS tracking can not only guarantee faster response time in cases of emergency but also help reduce the risk of accidents and wandering.

With all these measures in place, you can make the house a safer place for your loved ones and help them live in a more comfortable, safer environment.