In July we celebrate our independence. Our strong independent spirits are woven into the fabric of our country. Continuing to live independently is a key goal as we age. Keeping an aging parent living independently and safely at home takes thought and planning. Aging in place – staying in your own home as you grow older – is the goal of most aging adults. But as parents grow older, many adult children have concerns over their safety, their ability to get around and to engage in daily activities safely. Traveling home to spend time with them on July 4th can help you begin uncovering potential areas that may need additional consideration to keep your parents living safely at home. Here are 5 ways to keep aging parents independent.
- Reduce Potential for Falls
Check around the house for tripping hazards. Some simple steps can help reduce falls.
– Look for changes in floor surfaces like from carpet to tile that can create dangerous transitions between rooms. Make sure carpet is not rolled. Mark changes in surfaces with orange tape.
– Remove throw rugs. These are a huge tripping hazard.
– Make sure hallways and stairwells are free from clutter and well lit
– Move regularly used kitchen items to be within easier reach, helping to avoid too-high cabinets
– Add no-slip strips to bathtub and shower
– Ensure the handrail on the stairs is sturdy and can bear his weight and that there is a handrail on both sides
– Add nonskid treads to any steps
– Check shower safety, add a waterproof seat or consider replacing with a walk-in shower with no step-over entry
– Replace standard doorknobs with lever handles
– Add grab bars to wall next to toilet
– Make sure your loved one has nonslip footwear
– Make sure there are no cords in high-traffic areas like lamp, telephone or extension cords
- Improve Mobility
If a loved one is struggling with mobility, these simple steps can improve his quality of life and safety.
– Consider a lift chair
– Widen high-traffic areas in the house like hallways and doorways
– Create zero-threshold entryways
– Make sure rooms are easily navigated without having to navigate around furniture
– Add a ramp to front and back entryways
– Lower light switches to be reachable from chairs, bed or wheelchair
– Consider transforming his home into a smart home with Alexa-enabled controlled lights
- Find Support for Activities of Daily Life
It’s never easy coming to the decision that an aging loved one really does need extra support. But if a loved one is showing signs of self-neglect, then a layer of extra support in the home can help them remain aging in place.
– Ask a loved one’s physician if he would benefit from an exercise program to help prevent falls
– If a loved one is showing signs of self-neglect (see 10 Signs an Aging Parent May Need Extra Support) then private services can help ensure they are getting the support they need to remain as independent as possible. Nurses & Company’s Private Services, POWERED BY HONOR, is dedicated to helping an aging loved one maintain independence and remain safely in their home.
- Ensure Medication Compliance
Remembering to take the right medication at the right time can become more difficult as we age. If medications aren’t taken properly, your loved one’s quality of life can decline. In fact, non-adherence to proper medication administration can lead to ER visits and rehospitalizations for uncontrolled symptoms. If a loved one is having difficulty managing his medication, then you may consider medication management support.
- Improve Home Safety
Simple steps to improve home safety can help prevent an accident that could result in a drastic change in a loved one’s ability to live independently. Part of our 5 ways to keep aging parents independent is just common sense home safety.
– Put emergency numbers in large print near each phone
– Replace appliances that have fraying or damaged electrical cords
– Make sure electrical sockets don’t have too many cords in one outlet
– Make sure smoke detectors have working batteries
– Set the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F to prevent scalding
– Make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector near all bedrooms
– Fix loose or uneven steps
– Make sure there is a light switch on the top and bottom of the stairs
– Make sure the pathway from bedroom to bathroom is well lit by adding a nightlight
-Improve the lighting throughout his home. Put in brighter light bulbs. Florescent bulbs are bright and cost less to use
– Consider a wearable alarm device
We hope our Here are 5 ways to keep aging parents independent helps our readers. At Nurses & Company, we understand how overwhelming the process of finding the right care for your loved ones can be. Nurses & Company can help. Our friendly staff can help you understand and navigate the best options available to ensure the best support for your aging parent. Even if you are just struggling to know when the right time is, reach out and speak to one of our advanced care planners. We’re here to help you regain peace of mind by helping you understand the options available and when extra support may be the best answer to preserve your loved one’s well-being and independence. Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of your loved one’s needs.