Allowing a parent to age in place is a common goal of the families we serve at Care Assist Solutions. Often families are faced with choosing to modify a parent’s home or sell their property. Many families are concerned that major renovations will be necessary to ensure their senior parent’s safety.
The families we work with are often surprised to find that there are many practical and affordable solutions to modifying their parent’s home. Below we’ll review solutions to common concerns regarding parents aging in place.
Reducing the Likelihood of Slips & Falls
Removing throw rugs or adding rubber backings eliminates opportunities that often lead to slips and falls. Another common precautionary change is installing hand rails in high traffic areas.
Most accidents in the home occur in the bathroom where wet surfaces make for dangerous situations. In the shower, handheld shower heads and shower seats allow a parent to more safely take care of their personal hygiene needs. Ensuring easy entry into the tub is an important safety modification. If the bathtub has as shower door, remove it from the tracks and use a plastic or fabric shower curtain instead. Shower doors are more difficult to navigate than curtains that move freely. If entering the shower or bathtub continues to be difficult for your parent, walk-in tub conversion kits can be installed by a professional in a just a few hours.
On faucets in the bathroom and kitchen, ensure “hot” and “cold” faucet handles are clearly labeled to avoid confusion. Also, test the temperature setting for the hot water heater to ensure it is not too high. Water temperatures over 125°F can cause severe burns nearly instantly.
Overcoming Stairs Inside & Outside the Home
Two-story homes can be a challenge for elderly or senior homeowners who are concerned about slips and falls or who are faced with mobility issues. Some families choose to move their parent into a downstairs bedroom or convert another living space into a bedroom. This eliminates the need to traverse stairs on a daily basis. It also prohibits your parent from having full access to their home, which is not ideal.
Stair lifts are a simple, temporary solution for elderly parents who can no longer manage walking up and down stairs. Stair lifts are available in a variety of styles and configurations based on your parent’s needs and the design of the staircase. Stair lifts can be uninstalled and cause minimal damage to the walls and molding.
For smaller outside staircases, over-staircase ramps are available from a variety of manufacturers or can be custom built to fit the space. Instead of ruining the walkway of the home and potentially lowering the home’s resale value, over-staircase ramps provide a safe solution for parents using walkers or wheelchairs. Over-staircase ramps cause no damage to the surface underneath and can be easily removed when no longer needed.
Next Steps for Your Senior Parent
The first step to modifying your parent’s home is having a full understanding of what your parent needs and what options are available. We’d like to offer your family a complimentary safety consultation of your parent’s home. Our Geriatric Care Managers will review your parent’s needs and living arrangement. Guided by their expertise, your family can determine the best solution to allow your parent to age in place.