People live longer now than ever before. Recent times have seen a worldwide pandemic and worsening economic conditions generally. These, and other, factors, have seen something of a return to extended-family-under-one-roof living. This, in turn, has made elder-care a bigger issue than ever before. Many of us must consider how to alter our homes with our older parents in mind…

Much of this is common sense of course but here are some things to check for when you want to make sure your elderly relative is safe at home:

  • Grab rails in the bathroom (not towel rails; GRAB rails that are VERY securely installed)
  • Non-slip mats in the bathroom
  • Good lighting
  • Torches in every room
  • Functional smoke detectors (tested regularly)
  • Fire extinguishers (left in plain sight and checked regularly)
  • Banisters/rails on stairs (possibly on both sides)
  • Stable chairs with armrests – many older folks prefer more upright dining-room style chairs because they can get up and down much more easily than from low soft couches
  • No slippery floors
  • No loose floor mats or rugs (at least make sure you use secure non-slip underlays if you must have loose rugs)
  • No obstructions (eg. too much furniture)
  • No high shelves (there is nothing more terrifying than the sight of granny climbing up on a kitchen stool to reach a high cupboard)
  • Alarm and or panic button – a panic button worn round the neck is a great idea for the older person

All these items will make the home safer and will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.