Making A Home Safe For An Elderly Loved One

“Grandma fell down this morning.” If you have an elderly relative, you might have received a call like this, and every time it happens it breaks your heart. It’s quite likely that the elderly family member still has their wits about them and is adamant about remaining in their home instead of moving to a care facility, which is certainly understandable, that is until you get another call- “Grandma fell down again.” There comes a time when we have to face the fact that an elderly loved one just can’t take proper care of themselves anymore and needs some help. 

Fortunately, there is an answer to this conundrum, engaging the services of a professional home care provider. An in-home care service can make visits on a schedule tailored for any situation, be it for just a few hours a week or 24/7 care. You will be able to rest a bit easier knowing a caring professional will be there to help ensure falls and other mishaps don’t happen in the first place and to render aid quickly in the event that they do. If you and your family decide this is the best course of action to take, then here are a few pieces of helpful advice on home preparations that will help ensure a safe and positive experience for your elderly loved one, you and your family, and also the caregiver.

First, check the conditions of household features like doorways, stair steps, stair railings, flooring, and furniture to ensure the safety of your elderly loved one as well as that of the caregiver. If there is any clutter about the place, be sure to tidy it up. The home doesn’t need to be perfectly spotless, just clean enough that it doesn’t hold any safety hazards that could cause illness or injury. Be sure that all the home’s appliances, such as the stove and oven, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer are clean and in good working order. It’s usually best to give the refrigerator a thorough clean out, that five-year-old open jar of mayonnaise needs to go into the rubbish right away!

Here is a list of action items that will create a safer environment that will help all the residents avoid accidents or injury:

  • Remove any throw rugs
  • Check that the smoke detectors are functioning properly
  • Place up-to-date fire extinguishers in the kitchen and garage
  • Install safety bars near the toilet and tub
  • Add a shower chair if needed
  • Bath mats must be non-slip 
  • Disable the bathroom door lock 
  • Install properly bright lighting throughout the house and check for burned-out bulbs

Be sure there are light switches at the top and bottom of stairways and at both ends of long hallways

Carpets and flooring must be in good condition 

Canes and walkers are readily accessible

Examine the house’s exterior as well for any items that might pose the risk of accident

The Australian government offers subsidies to help with the costs of home care providers.