Independence is a key factor in the emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of an aging adult. Relying on others to take care of one’s basic needs isn’t easy at any age, but can be especially tricky for seniors who genuinely require a degree of assistance.

As a loved one of a senior, how do you set them up to succeed?

One of the best ways to do so is to bolster an aging parent’s ability to thrive within his or her own homes for as long as possible. To make this desire a reality, a few changes may be required. Above all else, safety must come first. For example, elderly persons become more prone to falling as their balance and strength begins to diminish. A simple fall can have devastating consequences.

You conducting a home assessment of potential hazards can be a great place to start and you do not have to be a professional to begin this task. Let us give you a few quick ideas that we share with our clients, friends, and the professionals we work with when it comes to making sure your aging parent can live safely at home. In fact, you can also click here to download the infographic resource we made for you!

  • Clear hallways, stairways and doorways of any clutter.
  • Put additional lighting throughout the home – plug-in nightlights can also be helpful.
  • Tidy-up or get rid of messy electric cords.
  • Repair loose carpeting and raised flooring.
  • Switch-out door knobs for lever-handles.
  • Remove locks from bedroom and bathroom doors.
  • Place no-slip flooring in the bathroom, including in the tub or shower.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and ensure they are in working order.

Experts recommend that you take extra care in securing bathrooms. With narrow spaces and slippery surfaces, it’s a good idea to install shower and toilet grab bars. Further, adhesive friction pads on the shower floor, a medically approved bathing chair, and a lowered hot water thermostat temperature can be excellent ways to further protect against falls and scalding burns.

Making kitchen modifications may also be in order. For example, stoves and ovens with automatic turn-off features are ideal. Hanging an accessible, easy to use fire extinguisher is also a good idea, as is configuring refrigerator shelving to prominently display frequently used food and beverage items. Further, consider removing small and low furniture, eliminating throw rugs, and applying non-slip wax to floors.

We know that making home repairs is not easy. You may want to employ a professional to help from your local community. When contacting businesses for home repair services, make sure to seek referrals from credible individuals or elder care organizations. Do not hesitate to ask for examples and testimonials from individuals they have performed work for in the past few month.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals who may try to take advantage of vulnerable seniors, so make sure to stay involved. Don’t let your aging parent sign any contracts without your help, and monitor all repair work. If you need help with this or any elder law challenges that you or your parents may be facing, do not hesitate to let us know.