How Do I Make a Home Safe for an Older Adult?
Living with an aging parent or having an aging parent on his or her own comes with a host of worries about everything from slipping and falling to confusion about daily medications. Take the following steps to make an aging parent's home or your home as safe as possible.
- Clearly label all medications, chemicals, cleaning fluids, and other potentially hazardous materials.
- Check all of the smoke detectors and ensure that your parent knows what to do in case of a fire.
- Keep emergency phone numbers posted in a place where your parent is most regularly. For example, if your parent stays in the living room reading books and watching TV most of the day, keep numbers right next to the phone on a side table.
- Install a medical alert system that allows the parent to push a button for help from any location in the home
- Clear pathways and make sure that there are no slippery floors or other surfaces (i.e. throw rugs). If there are stairs in the house or steps outside the home, make sure any carpeting is secure.
- Install grab bars, handrails, and non-slip shower strips
- Ensure that there is ample lighting throughout the house and put in nightlights as needed.
There are a number of daily routines that you can simplify by making a few alternations. For example, raise the toilet seats and install soap dispensers right at hand height. Look for clothing that is easy for parents to put on and take off independently such as slip-on shoes.
How Do I Not Let My Parent Think He or She is a Burden?
Many parents who are living with their children do not want to be a burden. They lived independently for decades and would like to maintain some level of independence and dignity as well as contribute to the household. If you think it is hard for you to take care of them, imagine how hard it is for them to be taken care of.
Keep your parent involved and don't tip-toe around them. If they are able and it is safe, ask them to accompany you on a daily errand, like picking your kids up at school or running to the supermarket. Ask them to read to your little ones. Let them feel like part of the family. Simply asking your parent what they want for dinner or if there is a movie they want to watch makes them feel like they are welcome.
Make sure that everyone in the family understands their responsibilities and has the means that they need to uphold them. Don't forget to keep other family members in the loop, particularly when it comes to sensitive matters such as finances.
How Do I Help My Parent If He or She Has Fallen?
When you take care of an aging parent, you must learn how to transfer them appropriately in a variety of settings with either one or two caregivers. Falls are very common in older adults, and you need to be prepared.
There are different methods for different types of transfers. For example, you would not use the same technique for a two-person floor transfer as you would use for a one-person car transfer. Consider the Smart Lift Vest for these transfers. Smart Lift Vest is a personal, portable device that uses a horizontal as opposed to a vertical lift technique, heightening the safety for both parents and their caregivers. In addition, Smart Lift Vest allows older adults to remain active, due to its ease of use. Keeping an independent lifestyle is so important in the health of your parent.
If you are caring for an older adult or parent, contact Smart Lift today to find out more about our award-winning personal lift and transfer vest.