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Evaluating a senior’s ability to safely age in place is a complex process. Research shows that approximately three-quarters of Americans age 50 and older want to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible, according to the AARP. But for this plan to work, a senior’s home must be suitable for aging in place despite the emergence of any new or worsening health issues and functional limitations.
Implementing safety measures and universal design principles is one way of ensuring an older adult’s current home will remain safe, functional, and comfortable as they age. Nanette Pfister, vice president of sales for Epcon Communities based in Dublin, Ohio, points to the importance of creating a home environment that supports one’s lifestyle now and in the future. Pfister emphasizes that every area of an existing home can be adapted to help prevent falls, injuries, and accidents.
In addition to home modifications that aim to keep seniors safe, home care services can help in several important ways — watching for environmental hazards, assisting with daily activities, providing companionship, and more. Read on to learn what you can do to ensure your elderly loved one’s safety at home and how in-home caregivers can help.
Home safety for seniors: Modifications and Recommendations
To devise a customized solution for helping a loved one age in place, walk through their residence and carefully assess each room together. Jot down any current or potential hazards that should be addressed, and consider the following suggestions for modifications and improvements that will promote independent living. If you don’t feel comfortable identifying home safety issues, a home care provider can organize a professional assessment for you.
General home safety tips
Each room and space in your loved one’s home serves a unique purpose and may have specific challenges to address. The following suggestions are room-by-room modifications that family caregivers can make that will help enhance home safety for seniors.
Entryway safety tips
Make sure foyers and home entryways are easily accessible by reviewing these suggestions.
Kitchen safety tips
The following tips can help ensure kitchens are safe spaces for seniors.
Bedroom safety tips
A senior’s bedroom should be a welcoming space where they feel comfortable. These recommendations can help keep their room cozy and secure.
Bathroom safety tips
Bathrooms can be challenging spaces for seniors. They often feature slippery flooring materials that become even more dangerous when wet from sink or shower spray. Consider the following safety modifications.
Making simple home modifications is an easy way that family caregivers can support loved ones aging in place. Applying the tips above can make any senior’s home safer and more accessible. However, you may begin to notice that your parent could benefit from additional help around the house.
Expert guidance to keep your loved one safe: Home care services and senior resources
Adding supportive care is another good option to help keep your parent secure in their space. Safe home care services range from assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) to transportation. In-home care can help seniors age safely in place and delay or avoid the transition to a senior living community.
Home care aides can help with the following:
Reviewed by caregiving expert Carol Bradley Bursack.
Where We Live, Where We Age: Trends in Home and Community Preferences (https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/community/info-2021/2021-home-community-preferences.html)
Eldercare Locator: Area Agencies on Aging (https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/About/Aging_Network/AAA.aspx)
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