You don’t need to build an addition or remodel entire bathrooms, there are many basic modifications to help ensure your loved one can safely stay in the home.
But all changes should be adaptable as your loved one’s needs and abilities may change over time.
1. Keep home safety a top priority.
Every year, 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 fall, so fall prevention is paramount if you’re a caregiver at home.
It may be as simple as brighter lighting around stairs, removing throw rugs or moving laundry facilities to the first floor.
Monitors and alerts can be a big help when someone has dementia and if wandering is a concern. You can place a motion sensor in areas that will sound an alarm or a floor mat with an alarm that goes off when stepped on.
You can also consider things like:
- A zero-threshold entry to the house is helpful for wheelchairs and walkers, as well as carrying groceries and suitcases inside
- Offset door hinges, allowing for wheelchair accessible doorway width
- Controls and switches that are reachable from a wheelchair
- Variable countertop heights allow people to stand up without straining their backs to bend over or sit at them in a wheelchair
- Easy-to-use handles and doorknobs, lever handles are preferred
- A raised toilet and grab bars in the bathroom
2. Look into home-based services.
Investigate what assistance might be available in your area: Erie County Department of Senior Services, Erie County Office of the Aging, Network in Aging of WNY, Veterans Affairs or other community-based organizations like 2-1-1-WNY. Physical, occupational, speech, massage and music therapy can be provided at home. Other useful home-based care services include mobile doctors and lab tests, home health aides to help with tasks like bathing, and meal delivery.
3. Do your homework when hiring paid caregivers.
Be sure to do background checks, get references and carefully monitor their work. Stop by — preferably at unexpected times — to check in on any professionals or volunteers going into the home.