A Safer Home for Senior Independence

A Safer Home for Senior Independence

Where do you want to live as you grow older? Surveys of people aged 50 and older show that a large majority want to age in place, staying in their own homes even as their health needs change. “Many older adults want to remain in the surroundings to which they are accustomed, in their established neighborhood with familiar shops and services,” notes Doug Dickstein, President/Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) in Burbank. “Through the years, they have grown an informal support system of family, friends and neighbors. Home is where their roots are!”

But as the years pass, families often wonder if older loved ones are still safe living at home. Those two flights of stairs, that fashionably dim lighting, the vintage clawfoot bathtub – features of the home that everyone took for granted suddenly seem like hazards! It’s time to evaluate the suitability of the home and learn about improvements that can help your loved one’s house, condo or apartment better meet their changing needs. Here are modifications that could help the home adapt:

Major remodeling projects:

  • Roll-in shower
  • Lowered kitchen cabinets
  • Widened doorways
  • Stair lift or personal elevator
  • Wheelchair ramp or ramped entryway
  • Nonslip, nonglare flooring

Some upgrades that are more modest in scope:

  • Grab bars in the bathtub or shower and next to the toilet
  • Raised toilet seats
  • Rocker-type light switches
  • Improved lighting indoors and out
  • Handrails on both sides of stairs

Quick fixes to reduce the risk of falls:

  • Rearrange furniture so your loved one won’t trip
  • Remove throw rugs and tack down carpets
  • Clean up clutter, and break the habit of placing items on stairs
  • Keep extension cords out of the pathway
  • Download a free Fall Prevention Guide (rightathome.net/fall-prevention)

Home security: 

  • A peephole in the front door
  • Outdoor lighting and trimming shrubbery away from windows
  • Improved locks on all doors and windows
  • A home security system

Removal of fire and burn hazards:

  • Turn down the water heater to 120° F
  • Install smoke alarms and check them regularly
  • Use extension cords properly
  • Follow the instructions for space heater use

Emergency communication improvements:

  • Be sure your loved one has a mobile phone and knows how to use it
  • Consider a personal emergency response system
  • Install a smart speaker or other high-tech system

Bring in experts

“Anyone can clean up clutter or check a smoke alarm battery. But many home modifications are best left to experts,” says Dickstein. “Poorly planned and built features can be useless and even hazardous.”

About Right at Home

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companion and personal care and assistance to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently. Right at Home directly employs all caregiving staff, each of whom are thoroughly screened, trained, bonded and insured prior to entering a client’s home. Right at Home is based in Burbank, California and services the entire Greater Los Angeles area, including all of the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the Antelope Valley. For more information about Right at Home contact  www.rahlosangeles.com, 818-956-5905 or by email at info@rahglendale.com. Read the Right at Home caregiving blog at www.rightathome.net/glendale/blog. To sign up for Right at Home’s free adult caregiving eNewsletter, Caring Right at Home, visit  http://www.rightathome.net.

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