Home Alone: Three Things You Can Do To Keep An Elderly Parent Safe When They Live Alone
If you have an elderly parent who lives alone, you probably worry about their safety, especially if they aren't able to get around as well as they once did. You may have suggested they consider moving in with you or moving to an assisted living facility.
However, giving up their independence isn't easy for most elderly people, as they desire to remain in their home and live a normal life. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help keep your elderly parent safe when they live alone.
Perform a safety check of their home
Make sure their home is equipped with working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Test the batteries in all detectors and offer to change the batteries on a regular basis.
Check for frays in extension cords and the cords of all electrical devices. Eyesight isn't as sharp as people age, and this can make it difficult for them to see damaged cords that may lead to a fire hazard.
Eliminate fall hazards
A fall can cause a serious physical disability that requires a long and painful convalescence period. Making the home less conducive to fall hazards is vital to the safety of someone living alone.
Rugs are notorious for causing falls. Not only are they easy to trip over, but the smooth backing on rugs makes them slide across the floor with minimal effort. Don't worry, you won't need to replace all of the rugs with new ones. You can purchase non-slip rug pads to use under existing rugs.
Use rug pads under every rug in the home. Non-slip rug pads will prevent the rugs from slipping on smooth flooring surfaces. They will also provide added stability to rugs and make them less likely to bunch up and become easy targets to trip over.
Check the layout of the furniture throughout the house, and rearrange furnishings to allow plenty of space for your parent to walk freely. Install tap lights or night lights to light the pathway between the bed and bathroom to make it easy to navigate those late night trips to the bathroom.
Don't give your parent an excuse for climbing up on chairs to retrieve items in the kitchen. Move essential items to lower shelves where they can reach them with ease.
Establish an emergency plan
Work out an emergency plan for your parent in the event of a fire or other emergency. Plan an escape route to be followed in the event of a fire. Print a list of phone numbers to be placed where they can access them easily. Use a large print to make reading the numbers easy.
You should also include the phone numbers of several family members, neighbors, and friends who live close by and can provide assistance if needed. The emergency contact list should be posted in the bedroom and at least one other room in the home.
Making your parent's home safe will be worth the time and effort spent. Not only will a safe home allow your parent to remain independent and live a fulfilling life, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing your parent is well taken care of.