The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate, but they can be full of challenges for adult children concerned about home safety for seniors. This is especially true for adult children who have a parent who has lived independently for decades in their home, and you start noticing that things are not being taken care of as well as before. This can be quite disconcerting for the adult child. But a fall, accident or disaster can be even more devastating.
So, what can be done to increase home safety for seniors and reduce the risks of falls or accidents to ensure that your parents are living as safely and independently as possible?
Below are some suggestions on how to approach this sensitive and delicate issue. Do your best to involve your parent(s) in the planning and decision making for greater cooperation.
1) Speak from your heart – be as compassionate, caring and loving and tell your parent what they mean to you and how devastated you would be if something should happen to them,
2) Tell your parent that you attended an educational webinar on safety and the elder care professional had some good suggestions and that you would like to share those suggestions with them,
3) Get your parent(s) perspective – ask them how they think they are doing – do they notice any changes, such as, difficulty getting around, maintaining their household, or their memory isn’t as good as it used to be.
Chances are they will downplay this, but it opens the door to having a discussion about your concerns and potentially brainstorming with them.
The following are some practical ways to increase your parent(s) safety while they’re living at home:
- Put together a safety checklist and discuss what things you can modify or add to make the home safer and more secure.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom and on steps.
- Remove obstacles to reduce fall risk: throw rugs, piles of papers and items on the floor, electric cords, etc.
- Review lighting and add lighting as needed to closets, hallways, bathroom.
- Add ramps to avoid stairs.
- Install railings to exterior front and backyard steps and steps into the garage.
- Install alarm systems or RING systems to monitor visitors.
- Order personal alarm button(s) to provide additional security in an emergency.
- Install an ALEXA device to provide additional help (turn on/off lights, play music, order groceries, answer questions, call family).
- Install cameras throughout the house so you can monitor your parent.
- Ask family and friends to visit to provide support and/or to monitor them.
- Hire a private caregiver several hours a day for companionship, light cooking, housework.
- Hire a professional daily money manager or a fiduciary for financial issues.
- Hire a Geriatric Care Manager for medical issues.
- Sign your parent up for a life or medial alert program so if something happens the appropriate authorities will be notified on your loved one’s behalf.
- Utilize and schedule delivery services such as a food delivery service, local restaurant, or Instacart for grocery deliveries.
- Hire a private chef to make meals in advance that a parent could easily heat up.
- Hire or utilize a transportation service, such as, Go Go Grandparents, Uber, Lyft if driving is a concern.
- Set up daily phone check in’s – schedule twice a day to make sure they are OK.
There is a lot you can do from afar if necessary. It just takes organization, planning and setting it up in order to ensure success, and to quell your concerns about home safety for seniors.
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