How can I make my home safe for a senior relative?

Some people in their older years face increased safety risks living by themselves at home due to age-related infirmities. To promote as much independence as possible for a senior loved one, families sometimes see to it that the Georgia home of their relative is modified so that their loved one can live there safely. Alternatively, some families take their elderly relative into their homes in lieu of moving their loved one into a nursing home.

Whichever option families choose, they generally find they have to modify either their home or the home of their senior relative so that the senior can live there safely. Refitting a home in this manner often requires examining it to look for ways a senior might suffer an accident and to make changes to reduce the risk of an accident happening.

As an initial step, the AARP recommends calling in a professional to take a look at the home and assess how it can be modified. You could ask a physical therapist, an occupational therapist or a certified specialist in aging-in-place issues to examine your residence. This assessment can help provide a road map to refitting your home with safety features while also promoting greater accessibility for your relative.

In general, there are many actions you could take to make a home safer for an aging relative. Halls and stairwells may require more light, as seniors often need more light to see. Kitchens can be outfitted with automatic devices that turn stoves off and on. A chair can placed in a tub for a senior to use. Doors and halls can be widened for wheelchair access.

Seniors are also at serious risk of falling. In fact, one in four adults older than 65 suffer a fall each year. This is why families should go over their homes to look for fall risks, such as loose carpets and throw rugs, cords lying around on the floor, and clutter on stairs. Homes may also need reinforcement aids for a senior to grab onto, like railings in halls or along the stairs, and grab bars in the bathroom.

Homeowners can also modify their homes to respond to an emergency. If a senior relative suffers a fall inside a room, you need to access the room quickly. Removing locks from room doors, like bedrooms and bathrooms, minimizes the risk that a fallen senior can be locked in a room. Also, homeowners can install sensors and alarms if a loved one is prone to wandering.

This article is written to provide general information on long term care planning and is not to be interpreted as legal advice.

The following two tabs change content below.

Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

Latest posts by Kevin Tharpe (see all)