Care Giving: How to Make an Elder’s Home a Safer Place

Not long ago, there was a story in a California newspaper about a 90 year old woman who was trapped in her bathtub because she was too weak to get up. (She survived by drinking water from a rubber duck). This is a true story and it reminds us that there are simple ways to make a home safer for an elderly family member. Here are just a few.

  • Get a lifeline. These emergency response systems provide assistance around the clock
  • Make sure smoke detectors and carbon dioxide alarms are installed, especially in the kitchen
  • Buy small appliances that turn off automatically
  • Ensure that all rooms have good lighting with convenient and easy to use switches
  • Use nightlights near any night time traffic paths
  • Get a telephone with enlarged buttons; get a cell phone for your parent
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom and even a shower chair
  • Place anti slip rubber decals on the bathtub or exchange the tub for a walk in shower with a shower seat to prevent falls
  • Install a programmable thermostat
  • Eliminate throw rugs to avoid slips
  • Replace the faucets with single level handles for easier one handed control
  • Have a spare key in the event of a lock-out; or consider installing a keypad (easier to operate than sticky keys)
  • Encourage the use of deadbolts and a peepholes
  • Help unclutter the house and cabinets
  • Buy furniture that is easy to get up from

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