Setting Up the Home for Caregiving

Growing older can certainly take a toll on the individual going through it, but it can also be a stressful time for family and friends as well. There are a lot more things to take into consideration as we age, and one of them is safety. 

While most of us are able-bodied enough to do most everyday activities without significant risk of getting hurt, seniors and the elderly sometimes have a more difficult time. If you find yourself in a position to take in an elderly family member or friend, it may require you to rearrange some things in your home. If this is you, stay tuned. We’ll look at some tips about how to better adapt your home to care for an elderly loved one.

First things first—the bathroom. As we age, we often lose the strength in our arms, hands, and legs. Due to the fact that bathrooms have a combination of moisture, slick surfaces, and rarely a soft place to land if we fall, this makes them one of, if not the most dangerous room in the house. Even something like getting on or off the toilet or in and out of the tub or shower can be extremely hazardous for elderly individuals. To make getting on or off the toilet seat easier, doctors often recommend an elevated seat with armrests for extra support. Though there are models that can be clamped into place, the clamp models usually aren’t very sturdy if the person is overweight. What might work better is a model that combines both seat and armrests with a hydraulic lift system that can be installed as a bedside commode. It’s important to do a lot of research or talk with doctors before making a decision.

For the tub, grab bars are a necessity. But if you’re worried about big drills and holes in your walls, fear not! There are suction grab bars that come complete with an armrest, and it is portable, sturdy, and most importantly, medically safe. It will help give your loved one the support he or she needs. In terms of cost, the portable suction bars range in price from $65-$140, which is considerably less than hiring a handyman. Be wary of those less than $65, however, as they tend to lose suction, and can be hazardous to use. Making sure that the devices you get are properly installed it an absolute necessity. These are not just items of convenience, they are items of care and safety; as such, they need to be solid quality products that are properly installed.

The bedroom is another place that can be updated to meet the needs of an elderly loved one. For example often times the elderly have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, staying in bed, etc. If the issue is that they have trouble staying in bed at night, the Standers EZ Adjust Bed Rail might be the perfect choice, since it’s easy to install, even easier to use, and it can be adjusted to three different lengths.

If they have problems with getting up in the morning or cannot hear well, you have some options too. The Sonic Boom Alarm Clock series features a wide variety of styles and features specifically designed to keep even the heaviest sleepers from sleeping through the alarm. Features range from a bed-shaker that shakes enough to wake them up, to adjustable alarm volumes from “subtle” all the way to “wake the neighbors,” and most clocks come with battery power backups in case of power outages.Though we did not cover them here, there are also many different types of mobility devices that allow for easier movement around the house, and you should be sure to do your research and discuss those options with your loved one and his or her doctors or other healthcare providers.