More and more adults are living in shared households, and many of these shared living situations involve their parents. According to a recent survey, as many as 79 million people in the United States are sharing their households. Although most of these adults are sharing homes with roommates or from renters, 14 percent are living with their parents.
There are several reasons you might choose to live with your elderly parent. You might be one of the lucky people who have the room and resources to do so. Or you might have access to a full-time caregiver. Or you might have trouble finding trustworthy providers of hospice care services.
When you decide to share a home with your elderly parent, ensure they’re safe by making the following essential modifications.
Get Rid of Fall Hazards
Falls are one of the most common causes of injury and death among older adults. As many as 2.8 million elder Americans have to rush to the emergency room each year because of falls and 27,000 pass away from their injuries.
Reduce the risk of falling by enacting the following:
- Get rid of floor-level obstructions such as extension cords, unsecured floor rugs, and furniture with long legs.
- Arrange furniture to make more open spaces where the elderly can maneuver without difficulty.
- Attach non-slip and brightly colored strips to your stairs and steps.
- Always check the floor for clutter that could trip someone, like slippers and shoes.
Secure the Bathroom
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for seniors, with the slippery surfaces that could cause falls and locked doors that could prevent assistance. When living with your elderly parent, go over the bathroom, and try to heed the following safety tips:
- Install rubber mats on strategic points, such as in front of the toilet, inside the shower stall, and in the bathtub.
- Install grab bars wherever your parent might have trouble rising, such as next to your toilet bowl, shower stall, and bathtub.
- Replace the bathroom locks with locks that can be opened easily from outside. Remove any deadbolts or latches that prevent accessibility.
Your mother or father will need to be as mobile as possible. Making sure your home is accessible as possible will reduce stress and decrease the risk of your parent hurting themselves just trying to get places. The following tips will help make your home easier to move around in:
- Build ramps with railings on outdoor steps and simple ramps for indoor inclines.
- If you live in a multistory home, outfit a room on the ground floor for your elderly parent.
- If you don’t have space on your ground floor for an elderly parent’s bedroom, install a stairlift.
- Widen entryways and archways to allow people in wheelchairs or with walkers access.
Technology can give you a significant advantage when taking care of an elderly relative. Make use of the following devices to make life easier and more comfortable for both you and your parent:
- Use tools like intercoms and machines like baby monitors so you can quickly be alerted if your elderly relative needs assistance.
- Install alarms on your doors and windows, especially if your parent is living with dementia or similar conditions. These alarms can warn you if they wander out of the house at night.
- Provide your elderly relative with a cellphone so that they can contact you or emergency services easily.
Living with your elderly parent requires dedication and constant vigilance. Ensuring they remain safe while sheltering under your roof is a heavy responsibility. But by following common sense and safety guidelines, you can make your shared living situation comfortable and secure.