Vital Home Improvements when Caring for an Elderly Parent

With a growing elderly population, more people than ever are choosing to care for their parents at home. The costs and psychological impact of moving to a care home can be prohibitive, which is why home care is becoming such a common experience for families. Whether your parent needs more looking after because of a specific condition like Alzheimer's or poor vision, or simply because they struggle to cope with basic daily tasks due to nothing more than age, their living space needs to be adapted to suit their needs. Here are some essential home improvements to make if you are moving an elderly parent into your home.

Bathroom Safety

It’s safe to say that the bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. The combination of smooth surfaces and moisture massively increases the risk of slips and falls. Even simple tasks can become more challenging, and the elderly will often have issues standing up from the toilet or getting out of the shower or bath. The best bathroom improvements to make will depend on the mobility of your parents. Look at:

  • Shower chairs
  • Seating at counters and sinks
  • Grab bars throughout the room, particularly by the toilet, in the shower and on the sides of the bath
  • Raised toilet seats

These basic improvements to a bathroom will make a huge difference in how much your parents can look after themselves.

Mobility Measures

There are a surprising amount of potential obstacles in every home. Mostly, you don't even register them in your day to day activities. For the elderly, those minor obstacles can quickly become dangerous. Stairs and steps are particularly worrisome, whether they are indoors or leading up to the house. For outside steps, threshold ramps can be very useful as long as there are bars to hold onto while tackling them. Indoors, stairlifts are always a good idea. Have a look at new stairlifts and their prices and consider how much easier it will be for your parents to have more control over their own movements. Never underestimate just how difficult it can be just getting up and down stairs when mobility is not as sure as it used to be.

Bedrooms and Privacy

One of the challenges of making changes to the bedroom of your parent is that safety has to be balanced with privacy. Personal space is vital, but if they need help getting in and out of bed then you need solutions. Independent living products can be life-changing. Bed rails can make it easier to get in and out of bed, with many models offering pocket systems so that essential medications are never too far away. If your parent has dementia or other degenerative conditions, you also need to consider:

  • Painting the bedroom door: This will avoid confusion at bedtime and minimize the risk of frustrated outbursts. Colors are very important to those with dementia. You might want to personalize the door for even more clarity.
  • Having a more visible bed: Always use contrasting linens on your parents' bed, as this will make it easier to define. This will be especially useful if they need to get up at night.
  • Lights: Install nightlights for added safety, with many available that work by recognizing movement. Again, this is useful should late-night bathroom visits become common.

Moving an elderly parent into your home will mean facing challenges. The more prepared your home is, the smoother the transition will be. Stay productive in the initial weeks and months of their moving in date, and work with your parents to identify issues and come up with solutions. Get your home care setup right and looking after your parents in their twilight years will mean improved safety and more independence at any age.

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