Caring for an elderly family member can be a time-consuming and stressful task. While most elderly people value their independence and want full use of their home, there are safety concerns that must be addressed. If you’re the primary caregiver for a family member, use these tips to make the elderly person’s home safer and more livable.
Improving Home Safety
Elderly people face a number of challenges that can make moving around the home difficult. Older people may have physical problems that limit their mobility, and memory problems can also create risks, particularly with medications. Here are some important factors to address in an elderly person’s home.
- Clear walkways: It’s not unusual for a home to become cluttered, but elderly people need clear floors and hallways to move around the home safely. Remove small rugs that can slide, and make sure that electrical cords are not in a walkway. If the elderly resident uses a walker or a scooter, remove tables and furniture from hallways so that the homeowner can maneuver around the home safely.
- Automated stair chairs: If an older person has physical limitations or has recently had surgery, climbing the stairs may be off-limits. Consider purchasing a stair chair, so that the homeowner can get full use of the home.
- Grab bars: Elderly people are at a higher risk of falling, and a fall can cause serious injury to an older person. To minimize fall risk, install grab bars to make moving in the home easier. These bars can be installed in hallways, in showers, and for use with toilets.
- Smoke detectors: Every home should have a smoke detector, but hearing the detector’s alarm may be difficult for an older person, particularly if that person is not close to the detector. Find a smoke detector that uses both a strobe light and sound as an alarm.
Each of these tools can increase the safety in the home and allow your elderly family member to live independently.
Getting More Help
As your family member ages, you may decide that you need more help to ensure that the elderly resident is safe in the home. Here are several other ideas that can increase home safety:
- Medical alert systems: Look into purchasing a medical alert system, which will notify first responders if the homeowner falls. Typically, a medical alert system includes a pendant that the elderly person wears, and the pendant detects a fall. These are useful if the family member faces a higher risk of falls over time.
- In-home caregivers: Eventually, your family member may require weekly or even daily visits from a caregiver. Caregivers can help with cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and they can also assist with bathing and dressing an elderly person. If you’re out of town or not available to help, a caregiver can assist a homeowner on an hourly basis.
Many primary caregivers gradually add more help as it is needed, and hiring an outside caregiver can be challenging. The homeowner must develop trust with the person who comes into their home, and it may take several meetings with different candidates to find the right person to care for your elderly family member.
Elderly Care – Financial Planning
In addition to the logistics, caring for an older family member can be complicated financially. You need to determine what assets the elderly person has to pay for their care. Primary caregivers must also research Medicare, Medicaid, and the family member’s insurance benefits. All this work is needed, in order to fund the relative’s care.
Caring for an older family member can be stressful, but your work can improve the elderly person’s quality of life. Use these tips to make decisions and get some peace of mind.
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