Aging-In-Place can be made easier with a few small additions or enhancements to each room in your home. As we age it helps to consider accessibility, which is easier to achieve with a simple layout, free space, grab bars, and good lighting throughout all rooms. Let’s take a look at some specific rooms.
The kitchen can be made more accessible by changing the height of cabinets and appliances, and ease of access to items inside of cabinets.
If you have a budget for renovation, it may be worth consulting a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist or your local cabinet-maker.
A few smaller installations you can do to help someone age-in-place in their kitchen include:
• a shallow/motorized sink
• Hands-free or lever-handled faucet
• Easy-to-reach water filtering devices
• “D” shaped pulls/handles on cabinets, doors, and drawers
• Pull-Out Shelves to Lower and Upper Cabinets
All appliances should be well-lit, easy to use, and easy to see!
Plan for the use of canes, wheelchairs, walkers or similar assistive devices by making sure the bathroom has plenty of free space.
Ensure the toilet is at a proper height or purchase a seat extender.
Installing grab bars is an easy and economic way to increase safety in the bathroom. They can be placed on the interior or exterior of the tub or shower, as well as near the toilet to help with sitting and standing. Grab bars are no longer all cold and metal- today many styles and colors are available to match your taste.
Shower seats, anti-slip coating, and adjustable shower heads can make showers much more accessible. walk-in tubs can also be considered.
Safety handles can be installed on the bed to allow easier access and reduce the potential for falling. Much like grab bars, these handles no longer look so clinical and can complement the decor of the room.
Having a working phone beside the bed may also be important in case there is a need to call for help. this phone should be corded or have a backup battery in case of power outage.
Cleaning out clutter in bedrooms is key! Storing heavy items or items you might use regularly on shelves can lead to accidents or things falling. Closets and Bedrooms should, again, be well-lit to avoid the possiblity of tripping!
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Reversing the roles and caring for an aging parent is a substantial responsibility and is not to be acknowledged as a simple task. Below are some tips to consider if you or someone you know has been designated the primary caregiver for an aging parent.
1. Inform yourself. If you are designated the primary caregiver of your aging parent, you have a road of immense responsibility ahead of you. To give yourself a head start, educate yourself on your parent’s condition and needs.
2. Trust your instincts. You know your parent better than most. This does not mean to reject or distrust specialists who provide advice, but to trust your gut feeling when proceeding with your parent’s care.
3. Consider Public benefits that may alleviate some of your day to day responsibilities. Associations such as the National Council on Aging provide many resources that may aid you in your care giving responsibilities.
4. Join a Support Group. Not only will this help alleviate your stress as a caregiver, but you may be able to find great resources and friendships through these groups. Having someone to talk to about shared daily and long term struggles will promote a positive mindset.
5. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Reversing the roles in a parent-child relationship is a significant and drastic change in ones life. Whether it be a sibling, neighbor, partner, or friend, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Utilize all possible resources to ensure that you are providing the best quality of care for your parent.
6. Be realistic about your ability to help. If you are not able to provide the quality of care that is necessary to keep your parent healthy and happy, it may be time to consider other options such as assisted living or a visiting nurse.
7. Consider home safety. Make sure you take precautions such as installing railings around trouble areas like stairs, and ledges to prevent falls.
8. Consider technology that could alleviate stress of an accident happening when you are not around. There are a wide variety of products that can alert you of missed medications, falls, etc.
9. If you are considering assistance in caring for your parent, it may be practical to speak to a financial adviser. Many of the available services may be covered by medical insurance and may be able to help you save money.
10/ Taking care of an aging parent is an immense responsibility. It will take a toll on your body in a physical and mental manner. During this process, it is essential to take time for yourself as well. Your own physical and mental health should not be overlooked.