There are many advantages in electing to have at-home care for seniors rather than hospice, convalescent, or other off site options. With that, come many opportunities to improve and protect the seniors’ living situation. The FCA (Family Caregiver Alliance) offers online resources with links to workshops, webinars, and educational classes to assist caregivers with strategies for providing better care for seniors and dealing with issues in their unique profession.
Here are eight ways to make changes at home that are beneficial for seniors as they continue to age:
- BATHROOM: Install grab bars near toilets, inside shower stalls and bathtubs so that seniors can steady themselves and help them rise from the commode and tub. If the bathroom floor is tile or vinyl, place carpeted mats that are either skid-proof or self-adhesive to help reduce slip and falls. For fully carpeted floors, ensure that any mats are tacked down to prevent tripping.
- STAIRS: Almost always, stairways and stairwells will have handrails, but ensure that they extend past the top and bottom for extra stability. Also, place colored tape on each of the steps and use a different color to distinguish the top and bottom steps. For smaller steps through doorways, consider installing ramps.
- LIGHTING: Increasing the wattage of lighting throughout the residence ensuring that they can handle the higher watts. Add nightlights in bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms, especially along the route from where the senior sleeps and takes a nightly journey to the bathroom.
- GLASS: As mental cognition begins to deteriorate and vision worsens, windows and glass doors can be dangerous. Mark them with masking or colored tape to lessen the possibility of accidental breakage or misjudgment of distance.
- FURNITURE: Place as much furniture as possible against walls and remove or place padding on end tables, sharp corners, and edges on coffee tables. You may consider removing them altogether. Avoid moving furniture that the elderly has become accustomed to their location and keep chairs pushed in under tables or counters.
- ELECTRICAL: Tape or tack down electrical wires or wiring, especially on flooring, and when possible, remove them from walkways. Ensure faceplates and switches are secure and working properly. Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly. The usual rule of thumb is to change the batteries when the time changes in Spring and Fall.
- TELEPHONES: If the senior is active, make sure they carry a cell or smartphone with them at all times. For the home phone, put it in an easily accessible location and make sure a phone is installed bedside. While some people are opting to have only a cell phone rather than a landline, having a telephone near a bed for seniors is a necessity.
- MEDICATIONS: Use pill organizers, a checklist, and/or a daily calendar that makes doses and frequency of taking medications clear and simple.
A mindful caregiver can help in many different ways, including ensuring that the environment is safe for the aging resident. Taking these extra steps can reduce falls and injuries for our loved ones in their home.
“Felicity Dryer is a women’s and senior health journalist from Southern California. She has had the great pleasure of being published in many great publications both on the web and in print. She hopes you enjoy this article and welcomes you to reach out to her on G+.”
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