If you have senior members of your family at home, you may want to think about ways to make them more comfortable and create a safer home environment for them. Doing so will allow older family members to feel more confident and increase their ability to be independent at home.
Start by taking the time to observe how your older family members spend their days. What tasks do they need to do and changes can you think of to make these easier for them? Are there any special preference or habits which your family members may have? How can you incorporate these into their routines? Implement changes gradually and after discussing them with your senior family members. Whilst change is good, try not to make changes which will disrupt their routine or which will result in too sudden a shift in their lives.
As you get to know the needs of the senior members of your family better, you will probably discover many areas in which you can help them, but here are some simple ones which you can start to look into first.
As we progress in years, our vision may deteriorate over time, making it harder to see under poor lighting conditions. This may result in accidents or an increase in stress. Having the right sort of lighting will help to avoid stressful situations and physical harm. Make sure that lights are bright and that light switches are easily accessible. Consider installing motion-sensor lights if your senior family members have difficulty finding or reaching the light switches.
Space and Accessibility
If you are caring for a senior who needs to use a wheelchair, you should rearrange your furniture to make it easier for them to move around. Try looking at all the items and objects which they need to use regularly. If these are placed on high shelves or tables, move them to wheelchair level shelves.
Reduce the risk of slips and falls by applying slip resistant coatings to your toilet floors and remove rugs to prevent tripping. Walkers can get snagged on carpeting or slip if the floors are too smooth. Take care of spills on the floors immediately to prevent unwanted accidents.
Grab bars are great in bathrooms where they provide added support and security. Strategically placed grab bars can also be used in long corridors to instil confidence and encourage greater mobility.
A daily routine can seem like a chore if the task becomes too difficult. Walk in showers are easier for elderly seniors to get in and out off without the risk or tripping or slipping in a wet environment. Handheld shower heads are a better option instead of fixed heads, as these provide more comfort for those with mobility issues. Lastly use levers instead of knobs or twist caps to make it simpler for seniors to turn the shower on.
There are various ways to make homes more senior-friendly, but remember that a home is meant to be comfortable both physically and visually, so don’t forget to make sure that your home is not only safe, but also visually appealing!
- Observe your elderly family members and take note of the difficulties they face. Remember that the most effective change can be a simple one.
- Keeping your home the same way that your senior family member remembers it adds familiarity and comfort; it is of greater benefit to have things where they’re used to it, rather than big changes to make everything accessible yet unfamiliar and intimidating.
- While you have the best intentions for your loved ones, do remain sensitive to the emotions of your senior family members at home. It is important not to make them that they are a burden to the family.
Article first appeared in Families for Life (www.familiesforlife.sg).
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