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Getting old is not much fun. It is certainly not something any of us look forward to. I know I’m not. One of the biggest worries people have is losing their independence as they age. No matter how good the retirement communities are in their area, most people desperately want to stay in their own home. According to a survey which the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) conducted, 90% of people want to live independently for as long as possible.
Fortunately, these days there is a lot that can be done to help them to continue to do so. I should know, my almost 91-year-old grandfather lives with me where he stays very independent. With just a few minor changes, most homes can be made safe enough for your elderly relatives to enjoy living independently for longer.
As you age, mobility often becomes an issue. Even if you can still walk reasonably well, tasks like getting in and out of the bath safely, become very difficult and dangerous.
Luckily, many of the bathroom adaptations you will have to make are small ones. Simple things like installing grab rails could be enough to enable someone to continue to be able to use their bath, shower, and toilet without help. Places that specialize in bathrooms sell everything you need to adapt your relative’s bathroom and turn it into a safe space for them to use alone.
Solve Accessibility Issues
For many getting in and out of the home becomes more difficult as they age. If there are steps involved, you might as well move in with them. Removing those steps and replacing them with a properly angled, non-slip slope may be all that is needed to solve the problem. Make sure the slope isn’t too steep and has a railing for them to grab onto as well. My grandfather had a doozy of a time when we had a steep driveway.
If your relative uses a walker or a wheelchair, they will find maneuvering around furniture and tight spaces quite difficult. Widening doorways or taking the door off completely could help them access areas more easily. Sometimes it can be as simple as moving a large piece of furniture out to the garage. This will create enough maneuvering room. Open space is key.
Hook Up A Help System
Many elderly people feel vulnerable when they live on their own. They worry about being a target of thieves, or about falling over and not being found for hours, or even days. Both are legitimate worries. Once my grandmother fell in her front yard and couldn’t get up. Sadly, she just had to lay there until a neighbor heard her yell for help.
Updating their home security system and giving them access to an emergency alert button can do a world of good. The additional security makes them less of a target, and the alert button enables them to summon help quickly when they need it. We use the LogicMark Freedom Alert Emergency System. Thankfully, he hasn’t had to use it yet. It’s great and requires no monthly fee!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.