Posted on: 10 September 2015
Staying independent is very important to many older people; moving into assisted living or into a nursing home seems like giving up on that ideal. But even healthy seniors often find that they have more and more difficulty with the essential tasks of living on their own. If you have an elderly relative and you're worried about their ability to live independently, it's important to know what you can do to help them. One way is by re-fitting their house to be safer and easier to get around.
Falling is a serious problem for the elderly; as you age, your sense of balance worsens, and your muscles also have more difficulty quickly correcting a balance problem. A fall can lead to a broken hip and a lengthy hospital stay, which is no one's idea of a good time. The more cluttered a house is, the higher the likelihood of your relative tripping or falling.
It's not easy to get rid of old stuff; if your relative is okay with it, the easiest thing may be to go through everything together with them and decide what to get rid of. But if they don't want to get rid of things, then you'll have to start looking at how to reorganize the clutter. Even if it's not particularly attractive, moving stuff up onto furniture is a good and simple way to keep the floors clear and safe.
The bathroom is another common area for falls to occur because of the slippery surfaces. To counteract this, make sure the bottom of the bathtub or shower stall has a rough non-skid surface. If it doesn't, or if the surface is worn down, you can purchase a mat to install in the bottom of the tub. For the area right outside the tub, choose a nice, plush bathroom rug with a non-skid bottom.
For added security, consider adding safety railings to the bathtub as well. All this will make stepping in and out of the tub much safer. In addition to safety, adding a railing next to the toilet can make a big difference in how comfortable it is to get up and down if your relative has difficulty sitting and getting up.
If your relative lives in a multi-story home, then stairs may become a big problem as they age. Some people simply close off the upper portions of the home and live completely downstairs; however, this is less than ideal, and it may not even be an option in smaller homes.
A good option to consider is a stair lift for the staircase. This will allow your relative to access the upstairs safely and easily. While people often think of stair lifts as expensive, it's important to compare the price with moving to a new home or even an assisted living facility. With that in mind, a stair lift is a small price to pay for independent living. For more information on these, speak with professionals like All-Star Lifts.Share