How do you help your parents achieve their goals of aging at home? They don’t want to move to a new community. They want to age in the house they’ve owned for years, but you need them to be safe. Make sure that their changing needs are met by taking care of these six home modifications before they’re needed.
Make the bathroom as safe as possible by adding grab bars. These sturdy metal bars need to be secured to wall studs. You need to put grab bars near the toilet and both inside and outside of the shower stall or bathtub.
A Main Level Bedroom
If your mom or dad falls, a trip up the stairs to the bedroom is often impossible. Even if your parent recovers, the fear of being on the stairs for another fall is great. Having a bedroom on the main floor is the best solution. Convert a den or unused dining room into a bedroom for now.
Wood, tile, and linoleum flooring are slippery when you’re in socks. You don’t want your parents to slip and fall. Consider updating flooring to non-slip vinyl planks. The vinyl planks look like wood, but they’re textured to prevent slipping. They’re also waterproof.
Pull-Out Cabinet Shelves
Getting things out of lower cabinets is frustrating when bending over or squatting becomes challenging. Instead, invest in pull-out shelving. Instead of having to bend over or squat and reach into the back of a cabinet, the shelf pulls out. Everything is easy to reach.
A Shower Seat
Sometimes, it’s hard to stay standing for an extended period. If your parents have reached this point due to arthritis, osteoporosis, or another health condition, a shower seat is essential.
You have a few options. You can get a wall-mounted shower seat that folds down when it’s needed. There are also removable shower seats with suction cups on the feet to help secure them to the tub or shower floor. If your parents need to replace their bathtub or shower, a built-in seat is also available.
In the middle of the night, a trip to the bathroom can be a hassle. If they turn the lights on, they’ll wake up. If they don’t, they could trip. With voice-activated lighting, they can turn lights on in the hallway or bathroom. When they do, they can tell the lighting to turn on as nightlights rather than bright lighting.
Voice-activated lights are also helpful when your parents come home from shopping and don’t have a free hand. Instead of trying to walk through a dark room, they tell the lights to turn on. Other helpful features include lights that turn on automatically at a set hour or turn off at a set hour.
In addition to these home modifications, make sure you’ve talked to your parents about home care services. Over time, they may need help with housework, meals, transportation, and personal care. Home care services can be adapted as your parents’ needs change. Your parents can have home care on a short-term basis or for as long as they are in their house.