If you’re considering moving an elderly parent or another ageing relative in with you, then ensuring that your home is suitably prepared is essential. Seniors, particularly those dealing with mobility issues, can often require a little extra help getting around and completing day-to-day tasks, and without the right measures in place, their safety could be at risk.
The good news is that with a little forethought, making your house as safe as possible for their arrival doesn’t have to be complicated. And it can all be done whilst keeping other members of the household just as comfortable, too.
Here are five things to consider to make the entire process as smooth and stress free as possible.
1. Allocate them a ground-floor bedroom
A ground floor bedroom is the safest and easiest place for an elderly relative to be based when moving into your home. Even if they can manage to go up and down the stairs at the moment, this could change in the future, so it’s important to think ahead and plan for the future when preparing to get them settled in.
If you don’t currently have a suitable room on the ground floor, then consider converting a home office or dining room into an additional bedroom – you can always relocate the former to upstairs.
2. Put in a ramp or stairlift
If preparing a room for them on the ground floor level isn’t going to be possible, then there are some other ways to make your home more accessible. If your relative is in a wheelchair or is beginning to have mobility issues, then firstly, you’ll need to have a ramp installed so that they can navigate the driveway and get through the front door more easily. If they need to get up or down the stairs, then a stair lift is a safe way for them to do so, and is well worth the investment when it comes to making their life easier.
3. Get them a personal alarm
If you’re worried about leaving your relative at home alone, then personal alarms are a great way to give both of you peace of mind. Thirty per cent of people aged 65 and over are likely to have a fall at some point over the course of the year, but with a personal alarm, they can alert you and the emergency services in good time so that someone will come to their aid.
Sadly, falls can’t always be prevented, but there are certainly measures that can be put in place to alleviate some of the worry.
4. Ensure the bathroom is safe and practical
On the subject of falls, bathrooms, with their wet surfaces, can be a dangerous place for the elderly. Wet surfaces can prove hazardous and increase the possibility of slipping, so having a grab bar installed in the shower is important. And, where mobility is a general concern, implementing a second rail beside the toilet will help them to manoeuvre themselves with greater ease.
Non-slip mats can also be a great help, so place them in the doorway, in the shower, and if they are able to use it, the bath tub. You’ll also need to make sure the doorway is wide enough to accommodate a walking frame or wheelchair as requires, to prevent them from getting stuck.
5. Look out for safety hazards
All kinds of hazards can present themselves in places you wouldn’t expect, so take some time to review your home and spot any potential risks. Rugs, for example, can make tripping more likely, so consider removing them and replacing them with anti-slip mats, and make sure that all of your rooms and hallways are brightly lit to ensure maximum visibility. If you have children, then make sure they know not to leave toys and games out on the floor, and to put them neatly away instead. Bumpers for sharp corners on tables and chairs can also help to make things safer and prevent any nasty knocks and cuts.
Moving an elderly relative into your home can be worrying, but with a few simple tweaks, you can quickly and easily make things safe enough to welcome them in – and just in time for Christmas.