As your parents get older, you may think about moving them into a retirement home or assisted living facility. However, if your parents are like many people, they probably want to stay in their own home for as long as possible! You can keep your aging parents safe and comfortable in that home even as they get older, if you take a few simple steps to improve their overall environment and ensure proper personal care.
Even if your parents do not use wheelchairs, ramps can sometimes be easier to manage than stairs. If your parent's house has a sunken living room, or a few steps going up to the front porch, a ramp with a nonslip surface and a handrail can reduce their risk of falling or tripping on a step. A longer ramp with a very low angle can also mean less stress on their knees, keeping them comfortable.
Remove the tub
A bathtub is often very dangerous for seniors, as they may easily fall when stepping over the tub wall. It's typically not very expensive to have the tub torn out, and you can then have a shower enclosure built in its place.
Also, note that a senior citizen might grab at a shower curtain for balance, but shower curtain rods can easily give way. Opt for a strong glass shower enclosure instead of a curtain, as this can give them an added wall around the shower area that they can use for balance and support.
Raise their seating surfaces and bed
An elderly person may struggle to lower themselves into a chair or onto the toilet, and then also struggle to lift themselves from a seated position; they may also struggle to get out of bed. Raising their seating surfaces can alleviate pressure on the back, hips and knees. There are raised toilet seats you can purchase and also chairs that work on hydraulics that actually lift someone into a standing position. Risers under a bed frame can also make it easier and safer for a parent to lift themselves from their bed every day.
Consider hiring homecare
Your parents may not need a visiting nurse, but simple homecare can keep them safe and comfortable. Consider having someone clean their home every week or as often as needed. Homecare aides can also do laundry, run errands and even do a bit of cooking. This reduces the risk of a parent falling while trying to clean, getting burned while cooking or injuring themselves from carrying heavy laundry baskets.