Getting older can bring plenty of physical and emotional changes with it, but often, one of the hardest to accept is the idea of having to leave the place you call home. However, with a comfortable and considered setup and the right support in place, it is possible for many elderly people to live in their own homes for many years.
This article outlines key considerations when ensuring your elderly loved one can live a safe and comfortable life in their own home. It is important to continue checking and assessing whether your loved one is living in a safe environment regularly, as their mobility may change over time, and safety hazards can appear anytime.
Create An Open And Simple Layout
Try to remove as many obstacles as possible when arranging the home. The more open the layout is, the easier your loved one will find it to get around. Stairs could be a problem long-term, so if moving to a single-story property is not realistic, it might be worth installing a stair lift or elevator.
Be Smart About Furniture Choices
Your loved one needs to be able to sit down, get up, and easily get in and out of bed. To ensure this is possible, it is essential to choose a bed and chairs that are the correct height or that are adjustable.
Prevent Trips And Falls
Falls are a common occurrence among the elderly and can cause serious injury. It is often better to use non-slip, low-pile carpeting rather than thick carpets or hard floors to reduce the risk of falling. In the bathroom, non-slip mats should always be in place in the shower or bath, and handrails could be a big help for those with limited mobility.
In the kitchen, think about convenience when planning the layout and where to store appliances. The less your loved one has to bend and stretch, the less likely it is they will have an accident.
Of course, if bathing, cleaning, or cooking has become too much of a challenge, it might be worth employing a home care worker to visit on a regular basis.
Make Sure Lighting Is Adequate
Poor lighting can be a major issue for older people, many of whom suffer from sight loss. Replacing old bulbs with brighter ones and adding new light sources could go a long way towards preventing falls.
Have An Emergency Plan In Place
Of course, it is not possible to remove risk from the home completely, so it is wise to put steps in place that will help your loved one should they find themselves in an emergency situation. This might include wearing a smartwatch or pendant that will enable them to make calls or alert people that they are in distress. For more ideas, the New York Times has listed some of the best smart devices for those aging in place.
Consider Their Mental And Emotional Health
In addition to preventing physical injuries, it is important to consider their mental and emotional health in their living space. You could create an area where they can enjoy their hobbies or socialize with friends and family. Decorate the walls with their favorite photographs and artwork, and ensure they are consulted about all the changes you are making. After all, part of the motivation behind staying in their home is to maintain their independence and identity.