A Caregiver’s Guide to a Senior-friendly Home
Every senior adult desires to live where they have lived most of their lives with their family. But with age, the ability to do basic activities take a hit. Many of them are daily tasks we all take for granted –
Bathing, brushing, dressing, eating, toilet hygiene, and functional mobility tasks like getting out of bed.
As a caregiver, relative, or home attendant to the elderly, you are probably juggling multiple responsibilities - cleaning, cooking, dressing, running errands, and managing medications - for your loved ones.
Let’s not forget that it is our responsibility to check for ways to make our home ageing-friendly and make day-to-day activities easy and safe for seniors.
Home is where the heart is
There are memories and emotions seniors attach to their homes – housewarming, giving birth to the first baby, endless moments with children and spouse, that garden they nurtured with their own hands - and more.
Few things are necessary to be provided in order to empower older adults to feel safe at their homes (as opposed to an old-age home). But this is easier said than done because it needs a comprehensive check of multiple factors that affect seniors, and no two situations are alike.
This guide for caregivers will take you through senior-friendly products and practical tips to make the home safe for seniors.
1. Mobility Aids for Seniors
Older adults often have difficulty getting around the house; however, the solution they need depends on the degree and the kind of challenge they face. If the problem is in getting out of bed and into chairs, or in climbing up and down the stairs, or even in just walking right – they will probably need a walking stick, elbow crutch, walkers or rollators, or a powered wheelchair. Get the right mobility aid in consultation with a doctor and be sure to evaluate all available options.
For seniors who can’t use stairs without putting themselves at major risk, consider installing stairlifts. This is a long-term investment and it gives your loved ones a convenient access to their homes.
Before investing in mobility aids, think ahead about making your homes suitable for them. You may want to modify doorways and corners, and shift furniture to give enough clearance space for wheelchairs, or install door lever handles that are easy for seniors to use. Use home safety modifications like handrails for long corridors and replace slippery floors with non-slip surfaces to avoid slipping.
When mobility is hard, older adults should not have to worry about the safety of the house and valuable property. If your loved one is particular about keeping a check on things, choose a home security system with cameras and sensors to keep unwanted intruders at bay. Such security systems can be a blessing for both seniors and caregivers. You will be happily surprised at the range of devices and sensors that are available – security cameras, video recordings, smoke sensors, gas sensors, curtain control and lighting control.
If required, consider getting wall and shower panic buttons or auto crash detection systems. Assistive devices and technology for seniors also include wander alarms and safety alarms for open doors and windows.
Let’s get the non-negotiables out of the way – shower stools and anti-slip shower mats should already in place. Make use of toilets easier with squat stools. Install L-shaped grab bars or rail bars with hinges near the commode. There are also shower seats, back rests, rotating suction cup bars, walk-in tubs, raised toilets, intercoms and other bathroom safety accessories for seniors you can choose from.
Personal and toilet hygiene is a sensitive area. You need to consider solutions that the senior is comfortable with. When reduced mobility in hands is a problem, for instance, brushes with extra-long handles , ergonomic nail clippers, auto soap dispensers, and multi-purpose hygiene tools like the Freedom Wand could be what you just need.
There are solutions for a variety of problems, so do your research. Help your loved one accept and use urination funnels and urine directors for seniors if needed. Check out a range of bathroom aids readily available online.
4. Housework and Cooking Aids for Older Adults
So you have a senior who insists on doing their own gardening, but you think not? Find a compromise with easy-grip gardening tools (gardening clp) for seniors that include hoes, cultivators, and trowels with long handles. Tools like step stools, step garbage bins, and easy-to-hold carving knives for the senior-most cooking enthusiast in the house.
5. Social Activity for Seniors
Older adults say some of the most unreasonable things to caregivers, don’t they? If you have been at the receiving end – we understand. But did you know that such behaviour can be triggered by feelings of loneliness, poor communication, and lack of genuine affection?
Do whatever it takes – invest in hearing aids, a smartphone or tablet to interact with grandchildren far away, or encourage them to join a recreation group. You should know your senior well enough to know what lifts their spirits - board games from the good old days, regular walks, music, visits to museums or the beach, or just a game of chess. Make a social activity calendar based on their abilities and keep them waiting for the next one!
6. The Little Things!
Caregiving can be frustrating; so, don’t pile on more trouble than you can handle. Take the smart way out with personal care items for seniors – be it, a Bluetooth tracker for lost keys, mosquito repellents, body wipes, or disposable bibs – there is always an answer out there.