When your elderly parent is no longer able to take care of themselves, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. If it’s not safe for them to live alone, but your home isn’t suitable for their needs, where do you turn? Not to worry—here are tips that can help make your home more accessible and comfortable for your elderly parent:
Install grab bars and handrails
One of the most important things you can do is install grab bars and handrails throughout the house so that your parent has something dependable to hold on to as they move from room to room. Grab bars should be installed in stairways, hallways, bathrooms, doorways, and other places where support is needed. Handrails should be installed around staircases or along walkways outdoors.
To install grab bars and handrails properly, make sure to use anchors designed for the particular wall material of your house (e.g., drywall or concrete). Additionally, they must be mounted securely so that when your parent leans on them, they can support their weight.
Make doorways wider
Opening doors can be difficult for someone with limited mobility. A great way to make it easier is by widening the doorway with either a pocket door or a swing door with an offset hinge. This will allow enough space for wheelchairs and walkers while also making it easier for your parent to get through without having to strain themselves.
You can also install a ramp to make doorways wider. A ramp with handrails on either side will make it easier for your parent to enter and exit the house and add more stability and support as they move around. When building a ramp, follow the building codes in your area.
Invest in accessible furniture
All furniture pieces must be easy-to-access and easy to use by someone who is living with limited mobility. Look for furniture that offers adjustable heights, armrests for added support, swivel seats so that transferring from one piece of furniture to another is simpler, and chairs with built-in lumbar support so that being seated won’t cause additional discomfort or pain.
Furthermore, you may want to invest in furniture designed specifically for elderly people. These pieces often come with wheels and other features that make them easier to move around. Additionally, these pieces mustn’t be too high, so your parent can quickly get in and out of the seat without having to strain themselves.
For people with limited mobility, climbing stairs can be difficult and dangerous. This is why it’s essential to modify your stairs so that they are easier for your parent to navigate. You can do this by installing a stair lift or constructing a wheelchair ramp. If you opt for a stair lift, purchase one that is durable and high-quality to support your parent’s weight safely.
Add non-slip surfaces
Another great way to ensure your home is safe for your elderly parent is by adding non-slip surfaces throughout the house, including carpets, rugs, mats, and tile flooring (especially in bathrooms). These surfaces will provide extra traction so that slipping or falling isn’t an issue when walking around the house or taking a shower or bath.
Make sure there is adequate lighting
Poor lighting can cause falls and trips, which can result in serious injury if not properly addressed ahead of time. Make sure there are light switches at both ends of each hallway as well as night lights near bedrooms and bathrooms so that navigating around the house at night won’t be an issue, even if all lights aren’t turned on simultaneously throughout the entire house at once.
Transfer them to an assisted living community
If your elderly parent still feels that their needs are not being met in your home despite all the upgrades that you do, one option is to transfer them to an assisted living community. These communities provide a safe and comfortable environment with plenty of amenities and activities that will help your loved one stay healthy, happy, and socially engaged. Depending on the needs of your parent, you may also want to look into communities that specialize in memory care or rehabilitation.
Caring for an elderly parent can be challenging, especially if your home doesn’t fit their needs. Fortunately, there are many options available that can help make the transition easier and ensure their safety and comfort. From installing grab bars to widening doorways to investing in accessible furniture, these tips will help you create an environment suitable for your loved one’s individual needs. If all else fails, transferring them to an assisted living community may also be a great option depending on their needs. Regardless of your route, it’s important to remember that safety should always come first when caring for someone who requires extra attention and support.