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Home Modifications that Promote Senior Independence

Mom just called again. You’ve been over to her house three times this week, and it’s only Tuesday. You’ve got deadlines at work, the kids have way too much going on after school and you’ve had about 12 hours sleep all week. How can you help her retain some of her independence so that you can retain some of your sanity? If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation with an elderly parent or loved one, here are some ideas that can help:

Independent Living Centers

Have you spoken to your local independent living center yet? Their job is to help people remain in their homes through the use of assistive technologies and resource programs such as Meals on Wheels, service organizations and in-home aids. This should be your first stop, because it will give you ideas on where to go from there.

Make it Easier

Your elderly loved one loves to cook, but can’t lift the heavy canisters or manage the manual can opener anymore. It sounds overly simplistic, but putting things in smaller, lighter containers or getting assistive appliances (such as a powered can opener) or tools such as reachers and step stools can make all the difference. Is it too hard for her to get laundry out of the top-loading washer and into the dryer? A front-loading machine makes this much easier. Can’t manage a push mower? Look at a riding mower, or see if there’s a neighborhood teenager who is looking to make a few extra dollars.

Make it Accessible

Even if your aging loved one is not in a wheelchair, a ramp may make it easier to get back and forth as simple tasks such as walking can get more difficult with age. Also, be sure to install grab bars, which are great for when trying to get out of a slippery tub or shower. If possible, it may be a good idea to install a curbless or walk-in shower in the bathrooms instead. While these home modifications can provide benefits to all older adults, they are especially helpful for seniors recovering from a hospital stay. The more accessible a home, the less likely a senior is to suffer a fall or re-injury.

Think about Furniture

Often times, reducing some of the furniture clutter can help an aging loved one walk through the home. By clearing the area around doorways and making it easier to walk from one area of the home to the other, you can ensure safety for your aging loved one. Additionally, think about replacing lightweight furniture pieces with sturdier ones. Seniors have a tendency to use furniture for balance on their way through the house and making sure they have something stable to balance on can make all the difference.

For more information about senior safety or senior care, check out our San Diego home care website or contact a Care Manager today. We offer free in-home consultations and can help ensure safety and comfort for your aging parent or loved one.

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