I hope to have my parents come and stay with us soon for an extended stay as soon as travel restrictions ease. I realised that, although they are relatively fit and healthy now, as they get older, it’s crucial to ensure that your home is safe for the grandparents and elderly relatives. Many of us have already babyproofed our houses to within an inch of our lives, but how many of us have considered if your home is safe for the grandparents?
This is a collaborative post written by myself.
My mum will be mad at me reading this because, to be fair, she’s probably fitter than I am, but that doesn’t mean that will always be the case. I thought I’d put together a list of things to consider when you have grandparents come to stay in your home that can make your home safer for them. Older people can be incredibly stubborn when it comes to accepting their ageing limitations, and I, for one, would never want to take away their independence or dignity unnecessarily.
Still, there are some practical solutions to make your home safer for them, whether they are visiting for a long extended stay or simply for a weekend.
Why is it Important to Prepare Your Home For Grandparents or Elderly Relatives?
The presence of a family member who is elderly can be challenging for a family to manage. They may need assistance in different aspects of their daily life, and it can also be exhausting for relatives to care for them. For these reasons, we must make our homes safe and accessible for elderly relatives.
This goes beyond the usual, picking toys up off the floor, not having slippery surfaces, and having comfortable chairs for them to sit on. It’s about a whole case scenario planning and taking actions to prevent accidents from happening. This can be pretty difficult if you have very young children who leave a trail of mess and toys and potential trip hazards in their wake.
However, being aware of potential dangers is the first step to making your home grandparent safe.
Practical Solutions To Make Your Home Safe For The Grandparents
In some ways, grandparent proofing your house is almost the same as baby-proofing your home, and I mean that with no disrespect intended. Both scenarios are about keeping those most precious to us safe, and here are some ways to do that:
- Make sure that there are no slippery surfaces.
- Take care of their medication and ensure it is kept out of reach of children at all times.
- Have a list of doctors’ phone numbers, and a list of family members or friends who can help them out in case they need it.
- Allocate them a bedroom close to a toilet, preferably on the ground floor so that they don’t have to climb stairs.
- If possible, install grab bars in bathrooms and around toilets
- Allocate them a chair in the living room area that is close to light switches and comfortable and supportive.
- Get rid of furniture that has sharp edges or corners, replacing it with soft or rounded edges.
- If you have young children, consider making the area where your grandparents spend the most time, toy free to avoid those trips hazards.
- Keep your home warm and draft free.
- Make sure that the things they will need in the kitchen are at an easy to reach height so that they don’t have to stretch too high, or bend too low.
- If they will be left alone in the home for extended times of the day, request that they don’t bath/shower unless you are home in case they fall and need your assistance.
Many people believe that putting in ramps or making modifications to the home can be expensive and disruptive. However, this doesn’t have to be the case if these changes are planned at the right time when they are still healthy enough to improve accessibility themselves. If you are considering making long term changes to ensure your keep your home safe for the grandparents, Age UK Mobility have everything you need, as well as all the support and guidance you’ll require.
Grandparents are an important part of our children’s lives; they even have a dedicated Grandparents Day! They bring so much joy to the children, and children love their grandparents for the time, patience and care they give them. My children’s grandparents live on the other side of the world, so when they do get to come and visit, I’m hoping that they can stay for a good long while. When they do, we will have to check to see if our home safe for the grandparents?