Making a Safe Home for Older Adults Living Alone

WHEN YOUR PARENTS GET OLDER, it’s hard to feel like they’re safe at home if you know they might not be. There are a lot of everyday issues that can make it complicated for your parents to manage on their own, from everyday clutter to furnishings that need rearranged, and even safety and security issues.

It’s going to be up to you to work with them and come up with a plan.

The problem begins with the approach, if your parents are anything like mine. When I first suggested de-cluttering, rearranging, and considering security and safety options, they thought I was insinuating that they were “too old” and that I was trying to take away their independence.

However, after a little discussion, they admitted that they could probably use some help around the house to get things in order. We set to work, rearranging and cleaning up.

The first thing we had to do was get rid of the clutter.

My parents are really pack rats, so that was hard. We went through everything, stored what needed kept, and got rid of as much as we can. Then, I helped them figure out a layout for their living room, bedroom, and kitchen that they enjoyed and still found functional. Hopefully, there will be fewer bumped knees and trips now.

I also put down grip pads under their runners in the kitchen so they wouldn’t slip anymore. It’s all these little things that you have to think about and it’s almost like child-proofing a house when you have babies.

There are so many details to cover. When we were done, though, my parents were much happier and they were excited to be able to get around their home without as much potential for ‘clumsy accidents’ as they called them.

My parents grew up in a time when doors didn’t need to be locked. When you could sleep with the windows open and not think twice. Today, in our city, that’s not as good of an idea as it used to be.

My dad actually had me help him go through some home security systems reviews and find a security system for their home so that they felt more secure. They mostly wanted it for when they went out of town on their vacations, and I was happy to help.

A lot of people assume that once adults get older, they just need assistance. My parents and I spent a few weeks improving their house and now they don’t need anything except the weekly visit from their grandkids that they love so much!

(Photo Creative Commons)

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