As a family caregiver to an older parent, one of the things you may be concerned about is how safe your parent is in their home. There are lots of things that could cause an injury at home and plenty of accidents that could happen. However, there are many ways family caregivers can help their parents to prevent accidents and injuries in their homes.
Below are 4 easy ways that you can improve the safety of your parent’s home.
#1: Make Sure Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers Work
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are often neglected safety measures. However, they are an extremely important way of keeping your parent safe from a fire. Test smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries at least every six months. Many experts suggest changing the batteries when the clocks change for daylight savings time. If you might forget, set a reminder in your smartphone. Fire extinguishers often have expiration dates. Caregivers should replace the fire extinguishers in their parent’s home if they aren’t sure how old they are. Also, make sure your parent knows how to use the fire extinguisher.
#2: Install Grab Bars and Handrails
Grab bars and handrails give your parent something to hold on to when they are feeling unsteady. They are especially important in the bathroom since slippery surfaces make a fall more likely. Grab bars should be placed near the toilet and bath or shower. Handrails should be installed on both sides of all stairways. If there is a long hall in the house, caregivers may want to install a handrail along the wall.
#3: Consider Some Smart Home Upgrades
Today’s technology offers all kinds of upgrades that can make the home safer. For example, a doorbell that allows the older adult to see who is at the door before they open it can keep them safe from intruders. Your parent might also benefit from a smart home upgrades that allow them to turn on the television or make a phone call using just their voice. This can be especially helpful if they should fall and need help.
#4: Improve the Lighting
Dim lighting in the home can cause your parent to trip over something or bump into furniture. Outside the house, poor lighting can leave your parent’s home vulnerable to intruders. It can also make it difficult for them to unlock the door at night or lead to a fall on the walkway to the front door. If possible, increase the wattage of the bulbs in light fixtures, but be sure to stay within the safe wattage for the fixture. Caregivers may need to have additional light fixtures installed. Also, place nightlights along the pathway to the bathroom, so your parent can see as they make their way during the nighttime hours.