While some seniors are able to remain in their own homes, many need specialized care that requires a helping hand 24-7. When it’s time to move aging parents, there are a few things you can do to prepare your home to ensure their safety. Keep reading for suggestions and tips, as well as signs that your loved one needs continual care and supervision, courtesy of Budget Fence N Deck.
Install entrance ramps. Even if senior loved ones are not yet in a wheelchair, they may have mobility or spatial issues that prevent safe passage up and down stairs. Consider installing a wide wheelchair ramp at the egress point closest to their bedroom. A professional contractor can usually get the job done in a single day, and you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 for materials and labor.
Create a safer yard space. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia often lose touch with reality and may accidentally wander away from your home. Having a fence installed by Budget Fence N Deck can prevent your loved one from being able to get too far away from your home. Your loved one might also reach for a poisonous plant believing it to be edible or safe. Even plants with edible fruit, such as the cherry tree, can cause serious illness or death if the wrong parts are ingested. Here is ProFlowers’ list of 199 plants that are dangerous to humans and pets.
Offer recreational space that works for their mobility level. The Jewish Association on Aging reports that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from time outdoors. Exposure to nature has been shown to boost mood and encourage physical activity in people of all ages. Create a safe area outdoors where loved ones can continue to participate, to the best of their abilities, in activities they enjoy, such as gardening or birdwatching.
Provide a room on the first floor for your loved one. A first-floor bedroom makes the most sense for seniors. In case of an emergency, it will be easier to remove loved ones from the home if they are on the first floor. Also, they won’t have to climb up and down stairs to get to the kitchen or bathroom. Decorate the room with objects from their own home as well as familiar bed covers and artwork. Avoid throw rugs and low-lying furniture.
Ensure adequate lighting in the bedroom, hallway, and common areas. As we age, our eyes are naturally less able to adjust to changing lighting situations. For seniors with a cognitive impairment, it is especially important to ensure that they have access to adequate lighting for late-night bathroom visits as well for everyday safety. Ambient lighting of about 30 lumens is best. This amount of light is just bright enough to help them navigate obstacles but not so intense as to disturb sleep patterns.
Use visual aids in each room. There are a number of memory aids that can help seniors recall what specific purpose an object serves. Visual signs are perhaps the most helpful, especially for seniors who have trouble connecting words to actions. A simple picture of a toilet or shower on the bathroom door, for instance, may help jar their memory as to the purpose of that room.
Signs seniors need monitored/constant care:
The following indicators are a sign that your loved one needs consistent, round-the-clock care. This may be difficult for you to provide, even if your loved one is living in your home. If that’s the case, you may decide that the best option for your loved one is a skilled nursing home. Look for a five-star option in the Dallas area:
Inability to safely navigate their home
Continually forgets medication
Can no longer cook/clean for themselves
Show signs of depression/loneliness
Cannot attend personal hygiene needs
The choice to change your senior loved one’s living situation isn’t an easy one to make. If and when it becomes necessary, you can ease some of your anxieties by making your home a safe haven for your entire family.
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