How to create a safe home for grandparents
Getting older is a fact of life. We all like to think that we can stay young and strong forever, but it just isn’t realistic. As we, our parents and our grandparents grow older, there are certain ways to make everyday life more comfortable and less prone to disaster. September 9th is Grandparents Day and we want to make sure that your home is in tip-top shape, whether for yourself or for loved ones. Follow these steps below to ensure a safe environment:
- Assess the Home: Look at it from a perspective of an overly-cautious mother. You need to reduce risk wherever possible. Look for tripping hazards, narrow hallways, steep stairs and anything that may cause an elderly person harm. Decide what fixes you can do yourself and what you will need to hire an expert for. If this process sounds daunting, there are home-care professionals who can assess the home for you to ensure that nothing gets missed.
- Easy Fixes: Make a list of simple things that you can do to make your loved one’s home safer. Here are some general ideas to get you started:
- Add railings to walls where someone may need extra assistance. Ex. Hallways, stairways, entryways.
- Remove wheels from chairs and tables to increase stability.
- Add a bathmat to the shower to reduce the chance of slipping.
- Secure throw rugs or remove them.
- Tape loose cables to the ground and around the baseboards so that they are secure and will not cause anyone to trip or catch on the wheels of a walker or wheelchair.
- Renovation Time: The word ‘renovation’ often scares people because they think it will be expensive, however it doesn’t have to. Minor fixes can actually create a much safer environment for a grandparent. Consider adding any of these features to your home to minimize safety risks:
- Add a handle or shower seat to the bathtub to reduce slipping.
- Replace stairs with ramps for easier movement within the home.
- Widen entryways and doorways for wheelchairs.
- Install sinks and showers with a temperature control to ensure the water does not get too hot.
- Install automatic devices in the kitchen to turn stoves, kettles and other appliances off if they are left on for a certain amount of time.
- Consider Home-Care: Whether your grandparent needs one meal a day or constant around-the-clock care, there are countless home-care options. However, this service does tend to be costly and you hear stories of questionable care in the news. Do your research on home-care providers, ask friends for referrals and stop in frequently to assess the level of care your grandparents are receiving.
Every home has a new set of challenges so make sure to fully assess each room with careful eyes when you are grandparent-proofing your space. Safety is always the number one priority, so help make your space safe for loved ones all throughout the year.