Part of your discussion with your elders will be how to adapt the home to prevent these risks. We all know that people over the age of 65 are at high risk for falls. There are simple and effective ways to prevent falls. Decide with your elders which steps you will take first.
Make sure that a phone is easy to access. If your loved one has an alert monitor make sure they have it handy and not left on top of the kitchen bench.
Check appliances, electric cords, and power outlets are in good working condition. Check smoke detector batteries twice a year – when you change the clocks for daylight savings this is a good time to check. Even better if you can have a power source to smoke detectors, and long life batteries.
Poisonings are often related to improper medication use and cleaning products. Tips for safety include:
- Have medications blister packed to reduce the chance of confusion
- Clear out the cleaning cupboard and only keep a minimal amount of cleaning products on hand
Prepare for emergencies
The events of the global pandemic that commenced in 2020 have taught us that there are many unexpected turns in life. To successfully age at home, you and your parent need to have a plan in place for emergencies.
Emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes. Think about the area that your parent lives in and the likelihood of various types of emergencies such as floods, fires, and the impact of lockdowns.
Talk to your parent about where important documents are kept and how you will get in touch with them during an emergency. See our other blog post on Planning for Emergencies.
If your parent is living alone they can be at risk for loneliness and the health consequences that follow. Senior loneliness and isolation can often cause:
Talk to your parent about a plan to make sure that they stay connected with others. Arrange to see them on a regular basis. If you are long distance caregiving for your parent or unable to visit, then set up regular phone or facetime conversations. An in-home carer can help your parent use technology to help them stay connected.
You might need to enlist the help of family members, friends, and community members. Set up a roster for them to call in and visit on a regular basis.
Companionship is necessary for the relationship but also provides another safety measure. When you have somebody seeing your parent every day it is reassuring. If your parent is being visited every day, you know that they haven’t fallen or become sick.