There is no reason why an older person with reduced mobility should not retain a modicum of independence in their everyday life. Keeping a home comfortable and convenient for someone with reduced strength and mobility has become easier as well. There are some simple home decorating choices you can make and plenty of appliances and safety gear that you can use to make everyday activities easier.
A lot of what you will have to do is take a practical view of what a person needs to feel in control of their own lives. The ability to move freely through the house and use the bathroom safely is essential for older adults to feel independent. If you can find ways to give this freedom of access to your elderly parents, you might find that they are more amenable to other safety gear that you ask them to try, such as a life alert bracelet or security system.
The most important thing to remember is that your elderly parents are not trying to make things difficult for you. This is a difficult time for both you and your parents because the roles have switched. They have taken care of you for your whole life, and now you play the role of the guardian. It is difficult for any adult to face the prospect that they are not as capable as they once were, in the same way, that it is a struggle for you to come to terms with the frailty of your parents.
Support one another during this time, and the safety issues and household changes will seem much easier to make.
Aging bones are a lot more brittle and can suffer debilitating breaks that take a long time to heal in the event of a fall. But an older person does not have the balance or quick reflexes they may once have had in their youth. Thus, it would be best if you did what you could to reduce the chances of falling within the house. Carpeted floors or throw rugs can be a dangerous tripping hazard. Tile floors are slippery with little grip and can lead to slip and fall injuries as well.
Low pile carpets are an alternative that works if you dislike bare floors. Some tiles have friction bands for slip prevention. These can come in many attractive designs. Do keep in mind that visions also weaken in old age, so intricate patterns might cause vertigo and lead to falling as well. Solid colors do not date as easily as patterns and are easier for elderly folks to see and navigate.
Put Away Cables
A typical household has cords and cables throughout the house. When we are young with a good sense of balance, we might not notice these as much. But an older adult who shuffles or has poor vision can easily trip over a cable and get badly injured, whether by a fall or even a mild electric shock.
Find ways to group the appliances in the room together in such a way that you can collect and cover the cables. There are many organizational tricks you can use to achieve this, and you can find both videos and gadgets which can help you with just a bit of research on the internet.
Upgrade Your Bathrooms
Bathtubs with high walls and smooth bottoms are another fall hazard. Getting onto and off the toilet can also cause some problems for wobbly knees.
But, being able to shower themselves and use the bathroom can be immensely important to older adults. Allowing them the independence to bathe by themselves is possible if you make some changes to your bathrooms and equip them with bathroom safety devices.
Most of these changes are upgrades that make the bathroom safer for every member of the family. Non-slip mats on the floors for easier grip and fall prevention, grab bars next to the shower and toilet to help lever yourself up safely, and a shower bench is just a few of the ways to make the bathroom a safer environment for someone with reduced mobility.
It is even possible to convert your bathtub into a walk-in tub. This allows you to avoid spending money on an extensive remodel but still make your bathroom safer for your beloved parents.
Non-slip mats are a must in the bathroom and the kitchen. These are rooms that can have water on the floor, which can cause slip and fall injuries. Non-slip mats help to prevent this by ensuring that a solid grip is had by everyone even when water spills on the floor.
You do not need to light up the house harshly to help your elderly parents to see better. Simple mood lighting to highlight edges and light up corners can also go a long way to make different house areas safer for their use.
Install small LED strip lights on the underside of stairs to light the edges so your parents can easily see the steps as they climb up or down. A lighted handrail can provide this same illumination if your stairs do not have space for under-stair lighting. Motion sensor lights in the kitchen and bathroom are also a good idea. They will not have to stumble in the dark trying to find a light switch and safely navigate the spaces.