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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Monday, August 5, 2013

Senior-Proofing Your Home

Although you can’t turn back time, you can help an aging loved one by providing them with a safe place to call home.  If your parent is moving in with you and your family, there are several quick fixes to senior-proof your home.
First, take a look at your floor plan.  If all your bedrooms are upstairs, you might want to consider turning a living area into a room, especially because stairs grow difficult with age.  Try to have everything they need accessible on one floor - a bed, full bathroom, and kitchen.  If it’s not possible to keep everything on the same floor, have railings installed on both sides of the staircases for support.
Check the hallways and floors second.  You want to remove all possible tripping hazards, like throw rugs or toys, and add nightlights to dark hallways.  Also install handrails anywhere the extra support might be needed, especially in the bathrooms.  Handlebars in the showers and by the toilets are essential for senior safety and to prevent falls, as are traction strips in the shower.
Finally, when talking with elderly clients, something they often mention are chairs.  Big, puffy chairs and couches make it difficult for seniors to stand and sit.  They need cushions that offer support and stable handlebars to help with standing and sitting.
Before your parents move in, do one last run through of the house, and try seeing everything through their eyes to see what can be further improved.  And if you want more information, try contacting a local nursing home, home caregivers, or even an office of aging.

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