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Make it safer and easier to stay at home

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To facilitate this, some adaptations may be required around your parent’s home. Some of these changes can be really simple and cheap; however some may be more complex and costly. Depending on your parent’s current health and mobility, you will need to assess how much work needs to be done

The best way to perform an assessment is to spend a day with your parent to see how they manage their daily activities. Doing a quick assessment will allow you to identify improvements and prevent you from spending money on unnecessary upgrades.

Alternatively, you can schedule a ‘home assessment’ if your parent is returning home from hospital or if the GP is advising them to look at options for care. The assessment will be carried out by a team from social services and occupational therapy. Occupational therapy may fund equipment such as a toilet frame and bed hoists, and alterations such as grab rails and ramps.

Here are some issues to think about if you are planning to make changes to your parent’s house:

The two parts of the house to concentrate on first should be the bathroom and the bedroom. Many of the changes to these rooms can be simple so long as you don’t take on big tasks such as stairs or major mobility issues.

Let’s break these suggestions down room by room:

Bathroom

This room can be particularly dangerous for the elderly, especially those who have found that their arms and legs have become weaker. There are two simple modifications you can make:

  1. A raised toilet seat. If you parent is finding it difficult to sit down or stand up, they will benefit from a raised toilet seat as these seats simply make the toilet higher. A perfect solution for the elderly or disabled.
  2. Toilet grab bars. We recommended bars that are mounted on the wall; these are useful and reassuring for easy and safe access into the bath or shower. There are models available that can be clamped in place but don’t tend to be very stable.

Bedroom

If the bedroom is upstairs, a handrail on the stairs should be considered. There may come a time when you have to decide that it is in your parent’s best interest to move their bedroom downstairs to make it easier for them to access it safely.

Safety in the bedroom itself is also important, here are some safety tips:

  1. Have a light switch at the door and a lamp within easy reach of the bed. Installing automatic lights, which come on when there is movement and light the way to the bathroom are a great idea.
  2. Have a chair in the room to make it easier for your parent to get dressed and put on their shoes and socks.
  3. Keep a torch on a bedside table.
  4. Have a smoke detector fitted in the room.
  5. Refrain from using loose rugs, a smooth flat surface is safer.

For more ideas, and to see the types of equipment available for home adaptations, take a look at the Complete Care Shop.

Security for peace of mind

You and your family should never have to worry about potential break-ins. There are simple home security measures that can be taken to ensure your parents’ home remains safe and sound throughout the day and into the night. Here are a few easy home security measures you can take to keep your parent’s home safe.

Door locks

Fix all external doors with a strong cylinder lock that’s anti-pick, anti-drill and anti-bump will help keep burglars at bay.

Windows

Windows are another obvious access point into your parent’s home. Make sure the existing windows are made from toughened glass and that there are key locks on the handles, this is especially important for downstairs windows. You can also buy window alarms which can be purchased individually or as part of a home security system.

Sensor lights

Position lights over access doors to offer security. These lights will come on when they detect movement to and from the house which will deter unwanted visitors. These lights also have the added safety benefit of providing light to give a clear visual access route for your parent and their ‘wanted’ guests when it’s dark outside.

Personal safety

Technological advancements have seen the introduction of some great schemes which offer a range of devices for keeping people safe. Detection monitors can be installed in the home to detect smoke, fire, temperature extremes, gas, CO2 exposure, along with security cameras.

Other items to consider include:

  • Medication prompting equipment to alert your parent when it is time to take their medications.
  • Door sensors with voice activation for those who are at risk of wandering.
  • Fridge sensors to alert someone when they have forgotten to get their meal out of the fridge at a set meal time.
  • Bed sensors which alert the person to return to bed at their usual bed-time.
  • A personal alarm, such as a lifeline pendant, can be worn either as a pendant around the neck, or as a wrist watch. It is connected via a telephone line and when the button is pushed a call handler will ask how they can help the wearer. It offers 24 hr care at the push of a button.
  • A tracking device is purely to make sure your parent is safe, it’s not about being Big Brother. This device will provide peace of mind, especially if your parent has a tendency to wander and get lost.  Please note that any tracking device must only be used with your parent’s consent. This system is supported with a key safe bolted to the wall of the property which holds a spare key allowing emergency services to gain access if needed without damage to the property.
  • There are many more Telecare Solutions available for a whole range of living situations and conditions.

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