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Tips for creating the perfect home for elderly parents to remain independent for as long as possible


helping elderly parents live in home as long as possible image

At this time of our lives, many of us are looking to assist elderly parents , who want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, but are finding that the practicalities are quite difficult. While many people choose to move home to something more manageable in later life, others prefer to stay in the property that they have lived in for a while. Of course, there are many significant advantages to doing this, including staying integrated into the community and retaining a sense of autonomy. Although, for it to be as practical as possible, there are often changes to the property that need to be made. A topic you can read more about on in the post below.

Coping with Stairs

One of the biggest challenges that we face as we get older is being able to navigate up and down the stairs in our home safely. Of course, you will always hear of people that belong to the ‘use it or lose’ it camp that staunchly refuse to have any accessibility modifications made in this area of the home. Although, they do tend to end up minimizing going up and downstairs because of the immense effort involved. Something that can actually seriously affect your quality of life and effectively close off at least half of your home.

Happily, there are alternatives to consider, the most popular of which is installing a stairlift. This being a device that is fixed to a rail that runs parallel to your stairs and allows you to be carried up to the second floor on your home safely and quickly.

In fact, if you find yourself in a home that has 3 or 4 floors installing a stairlift is going to be the prime way to ensure that you can regain full movement around your property.

Installing lifts are also become popular.

Security for elderly

 

Concerns about safety can rise as we age, especially when an elderly parent is living alone, or  suffering from physical ailments. Happily, there are a great many things we can do to boost the security of our homes, and so provide better peace of mind.

One of these is to fit something like these composite doors at the front and back of the home. The reason being that not only do they look great, and are incredibly low maintenance, but they are also fitted with tamper-proof barrels as well. Something that makes them one of the most secure options around.

security key image

 

Additionally, fitting locks to windows is also a good idea and using modern tech such as doorbell cameras, alarm systems, and CCTV can also boost the security of your home as well. In fact, in many cases, just the presence of such devices is enough to put off all but the most dedicated of criminals and can really help to improve peace of mind.

Access 

Next, when creating the perfect home to enjoy during golden years, it is wise to consider access. In fact, there are two areas to think about here, the first being personal  access to your home and garden, and the second being how to let other trusted people in if you cannot get to the door.

When dealing with  personal access to your home and garden, it’s essential to identify any issues that could cause a hazard. Steps, in particular, can be problematic and may need to be replaced with ramps instead. Something that can make it much easier when returning from going out, or get out into your garden. After all, nobody wants to be stuck indoors all the time!

Of course, it is also an excellent idea to allow access to the property to trusted people in case of a slip, trip, or fall.

The most straightforward way of doing this is to get a key hider that looks like a rock or another innocuous object and store a spare key on there. Then you can let a few select people know about that so they can gain entry in an emergency.

Sadly, though such an option may not be the most secure choice. That is why instead, many people choose to install a keysafe that allows entry instead. Something that means you can then give out the code to your carers, or children it cause they need it.

Seating 

One of the most important things about creating a home that you can be enjoyed during golden years is ensuring it is as comfortable and practical as possible. Now, this means you will need seating that not only looks aesthetically pleasing but is actually easy to get in and out of as well.

 

With that in mind, while the latest sofas in outlets like IKEA may be tempting, it’s often a better idea to go for something that is a little higher instead, as this can make it much easier to get in and out of unaided.

reclining chair for elderly image

 

 

In fact, there are some chairs that you can buy that have a motor installed in them and will gently tip your forwards. Something that can make sitting down and getting up much more comfortable and so help elderly people to stay autonomous in their own property.

 

Beds

The same thinking applies to beds as well.  Happily, they also make adjustable beds now as well. In fact, some models have functionally where not only the head end can be raised and lowered, but the bottom end of the bed can as well. This being something that can be particularly useful for pain in the legs and getting as comfortable as possible for a good night’s sleep.

Walk-in showers 

Another primary concern of those reaching their golden years is staying on top of their personal hygiene independently. The reason being that baths can be hard to get in and out of, and even showers can be risky because of the water and lack of support.

The answer to this is, of course, to adapt the bathing provision that you already have in your home. Something that there are two main options for. The first is to get the bath ripped out and replaced with a walk-in variety. These being baths that have watertight doors in the side that means you don’t have to lift your legs over the side of the tub to get in and out.

Alternatively, you can go for a walk-in shower, which you can create by installing an oversized shower capsule, and by adding a seat. Something that can make staying on top of daily ablutions in privacy without any additional help much more straightforward.

Grab rails

Speaking of bathrooms, this is one area in the home that can really benefit from additional mobility devices such as grab rails. These being handles that can be installed by the toilet, shower, or bath, and can be used to steady or support the person in question when using the facilities.

Now, there are cheap temporary of options of these available that work on suction cups, but the best approach to get permanent grab rails installed. In fact, not only are these more reliable and safer, but you can also ensure they match the rest of the room and create a much more aesthetically;y pleasing and cohesive look..

Automatic cut-offs 

Now, these devices are quite intelligent. Basically, cut-offs are devices that can be fitted to cookers and taps and stop them from running if they are left unattended.

 

What that means is if you get called away from the dish you are cooking, the cooker will turn off and so it reduces the risk of fire, or of coming back to a scalding hot pan that could be a burn hazard!

Now, it may well be that your elderly relative doesn’t actually think they  need such devices in their home. However, they can be an excellent option for giving YOU the peace of mind that they  will always be safe.

 

Outside help 

Last of all, while the idea is to enable your loved ones to retain as much independence and autonomy in their own home as possible, it’s important not to discount using outside help completely. Even it is to have someone else come in and help with things like cleaning or cooking.

Difficult conversations often to have to taken place within families when it comes to caring for the elderly. Care homes and live-in care are expensive, and everyone wants to see elderly relatives live as autonomously and happily for as long as possible. Changes around he home might make that possible for longer and reduce the stress for those around them.

 

 

 

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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