Studies show that older adults are increasingly choosing to age in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, as many parents age and mobility becomes more difficult or eyesight isn’t what it used to be, it's important to ensure that older parents' homes can be navigated without injury or difficulty. This simple checklist can help loved ones know what home hazards to search for (and take steps to fix) for aging or frail parents:
Sidewalks/driveways: Check for cracks and abrupt edges that elderly parents could trip over.
Stairs: Make sure all stairs have handrails that run the entire length of the stairs,preferably along both sides of the steps.
Doorways: Make sure that thresholds are low enough to avoid tripping.
Floors: Ensure that all throw rugs are secured with nonskid pads or tape, remove any of them that may slip and create tripping hazards, and eliminate any needless clutter.
Phones: There should be at least one phone extension on each level of the home and emergency numbers should be clearly posted at each phone.
Lighting: Adequate lighting is essential, particularly for those seniors with poor vision. Consider using motion sensitive lights.
Bathtub/toilet: Install grab bars in both areas, use nonskid mats or strips in the tub, install raised toilet seats, etc.
Kitchen: Keep commonly used items in an easy-to-reach place and make sure stove controls are also easy to reach.
This list contains just a few areas of the home to consider when ensuring safety for elderly parents in their homes. When choosing to help keep parents in their homes for as long as possible, AAging Better provides a free home-safety assessment and can even help coordinate senior home modification services. For more information about our services, contact (208) 777-0308 in the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls or Hayden areas; (208) 263-7889 in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas; or (208) 784-1505 in the Kellogg, Wallace or Pinehurst areas.
Our compassionate and highly skilled nurses, certified nursing assistants, homemakers and caregivers at AAgingBetter In-Home Care offer an alternative to placing an aging loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Keeping our seniors and disabled Idaho citizens safe and sound at home for as long as appropriate is our primary mission!