Keeping Your Elderly Relative Safe at Home
Homes today are generally designed to accommodate young mobile couples. There are normally several floors in the home and fixtures and materials that are appropriate for fully functioning hands and limbs whose shapes depend on normal strength and dexterity to manoeuvre around and through.
For older people, many aspects of the homes today are not ideal for their physical conditions. For this reason when an elderly person is present, a home needs to be re-fitted with certain things that take into account their limitations.
When outfitting a home for an older person the general focus needs to be on:
Here are some general additions and modifications that need to be me made to make the home safe for an elderly person:
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Most homes have a second floor where most or all of the bedrooms are located. When you are younger you might run up and down these stairs ten or more times each day as you get things from a bedroom. As people age and their mobility decreases, these stairs become both difficult and dangerous.
One wonderful option is to install a stair lift in the home. Stair lifts allow the elderly person to be shuttled from one floor to another via a motorized chair that follows the path of the stairs. Stair lifts glide nearly noiselessly just above the stair case and fold away near the stairs when not in use. The stairs can be used by anyone else when they are not in use. Stairs lifts can be installed on virtually any staircase. In fact if you have curved stairs, you can install a curved stairlift. If you Star lifts allow elderly people to retain some of their independence in an area that is very frustrating for them.
Door Handles Not Doorknobs
The common doorknob is one of the most widely used object in a home and most of us never questions its ease or effectiveness. But to an elderly person who may have arthritis or other conditions that cause either loss of strength or pain in their hands, the common doorknob creates a difficult challenge.
So when fitting a home for an elderly person instead of the doorknob install lever-style handles. These require less or no grip at all, so someone with pain or stiffness in their hands can easily manoeuvre them to enter a room or close a door. The same is true for faucets and windows also. Typically these handles require some type of squeezing. Replace them with handles that only require a turn.
We have all been in situations where flooring was slippery. The feeling of trying to safely navigate around this type of floor can be very scary. Some older people experience this type of feeling on mildly slick floors and with poor balance or limited use of their legs, it can be harrowing. Each surface should have a slip resistance cover on it which may be a mat, a runner and even a rug. Whatever is used, it should be taped down securely on each corner. Also remove any thick pile carpet from the home. This type of carpet can be hazardous to any elderly person, particularly one who uses a walker or cane.
Depending on the mobility and health condition of the elderly person, you may need to do lots more to make them comfortable. Be sensitive to their needs so you can make them comfortable in the home.