Uncovering the Hidden Dangers in Aging Loved Ones’ Homes

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 03:51 PM.

Look for ways to simplify your senior’s life.  Talk to your parents about why and how they do things then look for ways to simplify their lives.  If your Mom’s immaculate floors are now regularly dirty, think about how she’s been doing that job all these years and offer options.

Rather than a heavy mop and bucket, investigate light-weight, all-in-one mops. If your senior is replacing appliances, look for smooth-top stoves and refrigerators with water and ice on the outside.  Change door knobs to levers, or purchase grips that can go on conventional knobs.  Convert single-bulb light fixtures to multiple bulbs so seniors still have light when one bulb burns out.

Consider security.  Think about the potential dangers that lurk within your loved one’s home.  Lock-in switches on thermostats and stoves will keep seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from harming themselves.  Help them manage in their environment by installing a cordless intercom. 

Keep an eye out for damage.  Watch for signs that a senior is adapting his or her behavior to the environment.  Look for towel bars or window sills that are pulling away or shower curtains that have torn from seniors using them to grab onto.

Look for ways to make entries safe.  Make sure that railings into a home are in good repair and that steps and sidewalks are not damaged. Or eliminate steps altogether.  Make sure that doors into a home can be set to stay open for carrying groceries and other items in and out.  Install remote control locks.

Is clutter taking over?  Messy conditions and broken items are important warning signs.  Remove area rugs and stacks of newspapers and magazines, or other potential obstacles.

Contact a professional senior-care service, such as Home Instead Senior Care, which can conduct a home safety assessment and serve as a second set of eyes for older adults.

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