Making a Home Safe for the Elderly

In an enormous shift in societal norms it is now possible that we could spend more time caring for our parents than we do caring for our children. The ageing population of Australia has created a real need for people to think sensibly and logically about how to take care of their parents when they become too old to look after themselves. The three serious options are to put the elderly person in a nursing home, to provide home care yourself, or to engage home support services. Unless you opt for the option of a nursing home, you will necessarily need to address the safety situation in any home to ensure that it is easy for the elderly to manoeuvre around and live in.

Preparing a home for the elderly

Preparing a home for the elderly is much like preparing a home for a child but everything comes in a larger scale. Where you would buy a crib for a baby, for example, you may need to buy a special safety bed for the elderly.

The main processes of preparing a home for the elderly are ensuring that there is nothing to trip over and offering support as they move around. Falls are the most common cause of injury for the elderly and they can have really serious effects. A broken bone in an elderly person is far more serious than it is for a young person. This is because their bones will take longer to heal and also because the patient is also more prone to infection after any operation. A broken bone can in fact lead to a fatality if an infection catches and spreads. For this reason it is essential to remove any obstacles that could cause even a minor fall.

Loose wires, rises in the floor level and protruding table or chair legs can all cause potential hazards in terms of tripping. The problem does, however, go further than this. You may also need to remove rugs and thick carpets from the house. Whilst they look pretty and even provide a soft landing, elderly people who need to use a stick or walker to move around will often drag their feet as they walk. If this is the case, thick carpeting and any rises in the floor level can cause a trip at any time and the consequences can be extensive.

Outside the house

The terrain outside of the house is just as important as that inside. Home nursing will also require that the elderly person is taken outside for fresh air and activities to keep them healthy in both body and mind. Necessarily they will have to cross your driveway so the condition of this is very important. Be sure that all paving stones are level and that gravel is avoided. Sharp declines are also best avoided as they will be difficult to navigate for an elderly person.

Whether inside or outside, it is very important to offer support to the elderly person when they are walking. Walkways should be improved with the introduction of hand rails for support and easy manoeuvre.