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Feb 08

How to Make your Home Senior Safe

Many families to face the challenge of caring for elderly relatives at home. Moving your parents or grandparents into your house can be a great way to save money on housing and at the same time build stronger family bonds. Here are some ways you can make sure that your home is safe for an elderly resident.

Bathrooms. The bathroom can be dangerous for the elderly who have trouble with balance. Many accidents occur around bathtubs, showers and toilets. Make sure you have a professional contractor install institutional quality safety bars and grips around the bathroom. Avoid buying cheap suction cup grips as they can be unreliable. A suction cup grip mounted to a tile is only as strong as the adhesive that holds the title to the wall.

Lighting. As we get older our eyes require more liked. Make sure you install incandescent lighting whenever possible as fluorescent bulbs tend to produce glare which can make it difficult to see, especially for individuals suffering from cataracts or glaucoma. Keep hallways, bathrooms and stairwells well lit. Consider installing motion sensing light switches so that your elderly mom or dad does not have to fumble around looking for a light switch. Have your contractor install any new electronics to minimize your risk of electrical fires.

Stairways. You can drastically reduce the likelihood of a household accident involving a senior citizen by consolidating the living space to a single level. Talk to a home remodeler about moving bedrooms or eating areas to the same level where your elderly loved one will spend most of their time.

Alarm Systems. Based upon your older family members medical conditions you’ll want to have the appropriate type of emergency alert systems. Those that are suffering from dementia may require wander alert systems while those who are fairly independent and cogent may simply require an emergency call button that allows them to be connected via the telephone with a call center who can alert emergency personnel or family members in the event of a medical incident. Make sure that your home has up-to-date carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms that have a very loud siren and visual alerts for the hearing impaired.

Flooring. Make sure that none of you are floors are highly polished. Many seniors get hurt by slipping on slick marble floors or highly polished wood floors. Throw rugs should be eliminated as they are a tripping hazard. Wall-to-wall carpet is your best alternative, make sure you have thick padding installed.

Hot water. While everyone enjoys a nice hot bath having your hot water heater up to high can cause severe burns in the elderly. Keep your to happen and bath water temperature at 120°F or lower. Temperatures above 125°F can instantly burn skin and can even result in death. Make sure all your valves are easy to operate especially for arthritic hands. Replace any round knobs with handles.

By carefully looking around your house for potential pitfalls and dangers you can significantly reduce the chance of accidents for your special senior citizen. Hire an experienced general contractor who specializes in modifying homes for the elderly. Don’t skimp on safety.

 

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