Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 07, 2021

Ways to Protect Your Home if Caring for an Aging Loved One

If you have an aging loved one who is no longer able to live on their own, you may make the decision to have them move in with you rather than moving them to an assisted living or long-term care facility. However, there are a number of things you may need to do to protect your home and your loved one. Julian Sanders, a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, summed it up best when he said, “prevention is the best way to avoid someone getting hurt and all of the potential complications that can come from that injury”. If you’re preparing your home, here are a few preventative measures you should take to ensure that everyone is protected.  

Look For and Remove any Potential Trip Hazards 

While you may know to step over that extension cord or that the rug in the living room moves if you step on the edge of it, your loved one may not. Even if you tell them, memory problems often develop as we age, and it’s possible they would forget. They may also not be able to raise their legs and so shuffle when they walk. To protect them and yourself, you should remove anything that could cause someone to trip. For your rugs, you can install non-slip mats under them. Cover any cords or run them up the wall and across the ceiling if that’s an option.  

One tripping hazard many people may not consider is the transition that occurs when going from one type of flooring to another. For example, transitioning from carpet to hardwood typically requires the installation of a raised strip that runs across the doorway. This holds the carpet down, but the strip does typically stick up a bit. You may have no trouble stepping over it, but someone using a walker or wheelchair may have difficulties. These transition strips can also come loose and create a tripping hazard. You may want to consider replacing raised transition strips with flat ones or, at the very least, making sure all transition strips are firmly installed. 

Incorporate Technology 

There are several ways you can incorporate technology into your home to help improve the safety—and comfort—of your loved ones. For example, there are numerous senior monitoring services that help solve some of the primary challenges associated with caregiving from a distance.  

The Aeyesafe Monitoring Alert System encourages monitoring without intervention to offer your loved one more independence; it uses artificial intelligence sensors and heat and sound monitors to recognize abnormal behavior, monitor sleep patterns, analyze body, temperature, and more.  

Tru Sense is another passive monitoring system that can detect indoor temperature, water leaks, falls, and other motions. Overall, there are plenty of other viable tech devices that can help not only gauge what’s happening in a home in real-time, but can provide historical data about your loved one’s home habits and health patterns. This data can be used to make adjustments in the home or to work with your loved one’s doctors.  

Consider Your Pets 

While you may be able to fend off your excitable puppy or know to watch for your cat who likes to get underfoot, your elderly loved one may not. They may not be able to respond as quickly or have the balance necessary to stay upright when a pet jumps at them. This doesn’t mean you will have to get rid of your faithful family pet. It does mean, though, that you may have to consider some way of separating them from your loved one. You may need to use baby gates to keep your dogs in specific parts of the house or designate a specific room for your cat to primarily stay in. 

Install Shock Absorbent Flooring 

If someone falls onto your flooring, are they going to get hurt? If you have tile or hardwood floors, chances are they will. This is why you may want to consider installing shock absorbent flooring in your home. This flooring is still very solid and won’t be difficult to walk on. However, if someone falls on it, it will absorb some of the shock. This could be the difference between breaking a bone and simply being bruised. If your loved one has a history of falling, installing this type of flooring, at least in the areas of the house they often walk through, may be an investment worth making. 

Make Steps Safer 

Stepping up or down, even if it’s just down into a garage or up onto the porch, can be incredibly difficult for some elderly people. Consider this and take appropriate steps to make it safer. This can include putting in a handrail or making certain the current handrails are stable. You may also need to add in a half-step by using large paver stones. Make certain any pavers you use are very stable and will not shift. They also need to be wide enough for the person’s entire foot.  

Add Bars to the Bathroom 

Few houses have a bathroom that meets ADA requirements, but many accidents occur in the bathroom. You may need to add grab bars to the shower, the tubs, and near the toilet so your loved one can easily get up and down without falling. If they are in a wheelchair, they will need a grab bar to stabilize themselves as they move from the chair to the toilet. Talk to your loved one and get their feedback on where the best place and height for these bars is.  

These are just a few different things to do to protect your home and your aging loved one. Always talk to your loved one about areas that are difficult for them to traverse or that are concerns for them and address these areas as soon as you can. 

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