Make Sure They're Safe at Home
Whether your parents or aging loved ones are living in their own home or live with you, you'll want to check the entire house for any potential hazards. Most accidents occur in the home. That's because when we're in our own environment, we let our guards down. We might not notice the hidden danger in a beloved hand-woven rug that curls up at the edge. And that glass coffee table you finally bought after the kids grew up? You guessed it...Now it could be dangerous for your mom.
Take it Room by Room - Paying Special Attention to the Bathroom
- Install grab railings by the toilet, tub, and anywhere they're needed.
- Add non-slip mats or strips to the bathtub.
- Clear the clutter.
- Install bedside lamps, higher wattage light bulbs, and night lights throughout the house.
- Check fire alarm batteries.
- Throw out the throw rugs and the unstable tables.
- Install an emergency response system.
- Program phones with emergency numbers and post numbers in large print by the phone.
- Keep necessities - dishes, meds, toiletries, etc. all within easy reach.
- Make sure all locks work properly and that the front door has a peep hole at the right height.
Have a Safety-First Talk
Remember when your parents taught you to look both ways before you crossed the street? Now it's time to have a frank talk with them about some of the dangers that older people face. Talk to them about senior phone fraud and the importance of following directions when taking medication. Warn them not to open the door to strangers, and to be extra careful about burns and fire when cooking. (Actually, it's not a bad idea to remind them to be careful crossing the street, too.)
Safety Technology That Actually Makes Things Less Confusing
Although technology can be intimidating to some elders, there are many recent breakthroughs specifically targeted to improve seniors' quality of life and help them maintain their independence longer. From programmable pill boxes equipped with reminder beepers to cell phones with oversized buttons and readable screens, your parent or loved one may decide that technology is indeed a beautiful thing.