Home Safety Tips for Aging Parents

Advice For Seniors

Home Safety Tips for Aging Parents
Senior at Home Safety Tips

Senior at Home Safety Tips

As your parents get older and have more problems getting around their house, it’s time to talk to them about where they want to spend their elder years. If their home or your home is the answer, you will need to plan what renovations need to be considered to make their living environment as safe as possible.

A major concern you face is the risk of your parents falling which happens to increase with age and is greater for women than for men. More importantly, two-thirds of those who experience a fall will fall again within six months. Your obvious goal is to retrofit and rearrange their home to reduce and eliminate any risk of falling.

You may want to hire a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). They can help you figure out what you need to do so that your parents can live home safely, independently and comfortably regardless of their age or ability level. CAPS professionals are certified to know the unique needs of the older adult population and have experience in aging-in-place home modifications.

Before you start remodeling or modifying your parent’s home, figure how much money you have to spend on the project. Ask your family and friends and co-workers for referrals of contractors who can do your project. Interview your prospects and select a professional remodeler with plenty of experience with your type of project. Keep in mind that the lowest price doesn’t mean you’ll have the most success with your project.

These are some of the general modifications that should be considered to make sure your elderly parents can safely live independently.

General Home Needs

  • Construct a ramp or an additional hand rail for entryway stairs. For example, add a ramp inside the garage if the garage is attached to the house.

  • Make room for a bedroom and full bathroom on the first floor to avoid stair climbing.

  • Also place the laundry system on the first floor for easy access.

  • If climbing stairs is required, add wall rails for extra support.

  • Put up doors or block off the entrance to the basement to prevent falls especially in the middle of the night.

  • Change all the doorknobs and cabinet handles to a more easily gripped knob.

  • Stove knobs should be in front of the range to prevent reaching over an open flame.

  • If a parent uses a wheelchair, create a low counter area where she can prepare meals.

  • Subscribe to an emergency system in which the parent has a wearable device that can be used to call for help when needed.

  • Add an adaptable phone plug for hearing impaired phones. Call the telephone company to get one installed.

  • Set up a computer created for the visually impaired to read emails and documents aloud.

  • Use a bulletin board and large calendar in an active area, such as the kitchen, where your parent is most likely to go every day. Set it up with important phone numbers and dates and times for appointments.

  • If living alone, have someone check in with them once a day. Make sure someone calls each day.

Tips for Moving Your Parents to Your Home

All of the above tips apply in addition to:

  • If possible create a separate space where your parent or parents can feel the most at home. It may be a finished basement or an addition to the house with its own entrance.

  • Add a kitchenette that includes a small refrigerator, microwave and a table.

  • Make sure they have a separate TV so your parent doesn’t have to tangle for the remote with your kids.

  • Create a weekly event, such as a Sunday dinner, when your parent can see the entire family.

  • If you are out of the house during the day, have someone check in on your parent or at least call.