>> May 2, 2012
If your elderly parents are coming to visit you for a vacation or to stay with you long-term, it is important to make sure that your home is as comfortable and welcoming as theirs. The peace of mind that this will provide will make the reasonable investment required entirely worthwhile. Aged care is much like the care of children and much of the same equipment is needed so you may even have it already.
Here are steps to preparing your home for the elderly:
1. Carry out a full safety assessment of your home and the rooms that they will be spending most of their time in. If possible it is best to prepare a comfortable downstairs room for your elderly parent. This will prevent them from having to travel up and down the stairs and be at risk of falling. If you only have room for them in the upper floor of your house then you may need to invest in a child stair-gate to prevent them from falling down the stairs.
2. Install light switches just inside each of the rooms that they will need to enter. Locating light switches in easy to reach places will prevent the need for elderly people to move about in the dark. Trips and falls are the biggest danger to the elderly so anything you can do to prevent this is essential.
3. Install nightlights in easy to reach places. Hallways and bedrooms should all have nightlights installed. Nightlights will enable your elderly parent to see where they are going whenever they need to move around at night. Elderly parents often wake in the night in need of the toilet so this is a common occurrence that needs to be dealt with.
4. Invest in a personal alarm which will alert you to any emergency in your absence. A wearable alarm is the best option because they will always have it on them and will always be able to get help.
5. Get a phone with large numbers. Eyesight depreciates as people get older so a phone with large numbers will enable a better chance of being able to dial correctly when in need. If the phone is programmable, store all necessary contact details and emergency numbers in the phone.
6. Mark the stairs with highly visible strips. Whilst it may look less attractive, a visible edge is far easier to navigate for the elderly.
7. Remove any rugs which are not secured to the floor. Loose rugs can cause slips, trips or falls. It is very important to avoid this and the best way is to remove rugs completely. Similarly, thick carpets can be very difficult for the elderly to walk on so it is important to consider their safety first.
8. Install sturdy handrails. Wherever the elderly person needs to manoeuvre should have an assistance rail. There should be support bars in the showers and non-slip floors.
9. Arrange for elderly care support if you are taking on long term care responsibilities. It is very important that you are still able to enjoy your life whilst looking after an elderly parent. Arranging for an afternoon or day off every week could provide you with the time to rest and recuperate that you need.