Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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How to Turn the Elderly's home into a "Safe Home"

How to Turn the Elderly’s home into a “Safe Home”

We all know that as your loved ones head into retirement their homes tend to age as well. It is always a good practice to occasionally take a step back and examine your loved one’s home to see how their living arrangement supports their daily needs and activities. As a proactive approach, there are many steps that one can take to ensure everyone can stay safe and comfortable in their home. Changes can be made with little to no cost and in turn make the home a safer environment for everyone to enjoy. Here are some safety tips to evaluate the home of a loved one. Implementing these tips allow loved ones to successfully age in the place they call home.

It is a known fact that almost 90% of seniors choose to stay in their current home, for as long as possible, as they age. At times their home(s) can end up being the(ir) largest obstacle to remaining independent. By taking some small and very practical steps and modifications, a loved one’s home can be transformed into a safe home.

No-Cost Changes for Home Safety

  • Remove all throw rugs – these are known to lead to falls.
  • Raise shades and open blinds and curtains – this will allow more natural light during daylight hours.
  • Put all power, cable and phone cords along walls where they are not a trip hazard.
  • Keep staircases and hallways open and clutter free to avoid trips and falls.
  • Make sure the hot water heater is set to 120 degrees to prevent burns as well as reduce energy consumption.

When making these changes it is important to explain to your loved one why you are suggesting removing all of the visible trip hazards. Tell them you would like them to consider the change because you are concerned for their safety. Try to be creative in how you approach the conversation and suggest moving these items to change the decor flow while making the home a safer place to live.

Low-Cost Changes for Home Safety

Take a look around your parent’s home to see what other steps can be taken to ensure a safe home. Low cost changes as suggested below can help make the home even safer.

  • Increase lighting by using higher watt bulbs especially in low light areas.
  • Install night lights in hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms.
  • Add anti-slip strips in bathtubs and showers.
  • Mount grab bars in the bathtubs and showers.
  • Place a sturdy shower chair for them to sit down while showering.
  • Install a handheld shower head.
  • Install handrails on both sides of each stairway so they can have secure footing.

These changes are affordable and cost, on average, $35-$70. Please ensure that items are installed properly or professionally, finding a reputable handyman is highly suggested.

It is hard for your loved ones to consider these small changes. They might find them unattractive or might feel like their home is resembling a hospital room. At this point it is time to speak from the heart. Let them know you worry about them and want them to be safe in their home. You can even take them with you to the store to look together at what items are new on the market.

You also want to make sure they have a properly rated fire extinguisher in the kitchen area as well as fire and carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of the house. You can also access media like Youtube to see videos on how you can easily improve safety and peace of mind in your home.

Extensive Changes to The Home

Based on money available, more extensive changes can be made based on their needs. Design features like pull out drawers in the kitchen, and no step entries to the home can cost you a bit more, but in the long run you make the home a safer and more comfortable environment for everyone involved.

Growing Consumer Interest

More and more businesses are discovering that consumers have allot of interest in features and products that promote successful aging in place. More today than ever people are coming to the realization that when homes come with these features, the home value increases. Many newly constructed homes are taking a new approach and provide:

  • Accommodations for first floor living with the Master Bedroom and full bath on the first floor.
  • At least one no step entrance to the central living area of the home.
  • A maximum clearance (up to 36 inches) in all doorways for easy movement throughout the home.

Today there is a significant consumer interest in aging in place and the type of home required for it. Also most builders can easily modify plans to accommodate these simple changes as well.

My Safe Home

It is our hope that at the office of Amy B Van Fossen, P.A. we can help you get in touch with knowledgeable experts that can assist with the evaluation of your loved ones home and suggest the kinds of changes that may deem necessary and beneficial to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Senior Solutions Management, LLC. and it’s affiliate group, Golden Providers can help in many aspects of home repairs and maintenance.

Amy B. Van Fossen

Amy B. Van Fossen

(Formerly Attorney Amy B. Jackson)