Learning to Care for Aging Family Members

It’s a simple fact that at some point, you will need assistance from somebody else. Whether you have an aging parent moving in with you, or they want to remain independent and stay in their own home, it can be a difficult time for you, your family and your parents. Luckily, there are modifications and additions that you can make to the home that will help enhance their quality of life.

Improving mobility

If your elderly parents are of sound mind but, as of late, are having trouble climbing, walking and remaining steady on their feet, there are things you can do to the home that will let them move about freely. Devices such as an EasyClimber, or a personal elevator, give older folks with limited mobility the ability to access the second level of their homes. This is especially important if their bedroom or laundry room is on the upper level. You can also purchase a wheelchair if walking or standing up for short periods of time is a problem and a scooter for making trips around town. This way your parents can still get around on their own, without the need for assistance with everything they do.

Think safety first

As an adult child, it can be difficult to witness a parent slowly deteriorating in front of your eyes. With weakened muscles and frail bones, tasks like lowering themselves onto a toilet seat or climbing in and out of a tub can become nearly impossible to achieve. The good news is that you can add handrails and guardrails in preferred locations, to use for additional support. The same goes for their bed; you can install bed rails to keep them safe and secure, while also giving you peace of mind. In addition to the rails, adding the proper lighting can also prevent serious injuries due to a slip or a fall. Add night lights to hallways and high traffic areas like the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. You can also install motion sensors in the pantry, garage, and the stairs.

Reduce the clutter

For many aging adults with difficulty getting around, having added clutter and large pieces of furniture can prohibit them from being able to walk through their home risk-free. If they want to remain in their residence, you can arrange to have the clutter moved to the basement, attic or the garage, or have a yard sale and unload some of the items they no longer need. This will allow you to free up space and make it easier for your parents to go from one room in their home to another, just as they did before. As an added bonus, you can use the money you make on the sale to fund some of the necessary modifications.

Flooring and Rugs

Slippery floors and area rugs can increase the likelihood of an accident. It’s important to do a check of the hardwood, tile or linoleum floors to make sure that they are not slippery and cause sliding. If they do, you can apply a non-slip finish. You should also apply a non-slip backing to any area rugs in the home and then do a check to make sure that no wires are located underneath. Stairs are also an area of concern that you can easily render by applying tread to each step.

Kitchen

If your elderly parent is becoming forgetful, adding safety features in the kitchen will help to reduce the possibility of a fire. There are several options available including temperature-controlled cookware, as well as stoves and ovens that come programmed to automatically turn off. If your parent is having difficulty carrying heavier items, you can replace the china with lightweight plastics.

With a few minor changes to a home, an elderly person can improve their mobility and enjoy the comforts as they once did, and you can have peace of mind.

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