Your parents were always there for you when you were growing up. They did so much to care for you, but now as they age it is your chance to care for them. As with infants and young children, safety is always a major concern for elderly people. You can take certain steps to help reduce the chance of accidents while you are caring for elderly parents at home.
- Falls: An elderly person’s fall can be disastrous. Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and painful fractures can occur easily in a fall. There are a variety of hidden obstacles that can lead to a bad fall. Start with assessing staircases. Can your parent navigate steps easily, should you install a chair lift or is it possible to have them live downstairs?. Do your parents need to use a cane to continue to be mobile? Slippery floors in the bathroom and kitchen also need to be assessed and taken care of. Are the rugs securely set in place or can they slide around or bunch up?
- Medication Mistakes: Many seniors are on several medications with a variety of dosing times. Are you set up to monitor and supervise detailed medication schedules? You may need to set up medication trays to set a daily schedule, as well as alarms to notify dosing times. Many seniors may forget if they have already taken a dose and a checks and balance system should be put in place to ensure they take their medications at the proper times and in the correct dosages.
- Medical Emergencies: We do not like to think about something happening to our loved ones, but you must be prepared for a variety of emergencies. A first aid kit should be easily assessable and fully stocked. You may want to invest in special equipment such as an AED device in the event of an emergency. Medical alert bracelets and alarms are also a good idea in an emergency.
- Supervision: As with small children, caring for elderly parents at home requires good supervision. Do you have a plan for who will watch over your parents in case you are ill or need to leave the house for errands or appointments. Caregivers need to also take time for themselves so they don’t become overwhelmed and suffer from burn out.
- Monitoring Health Concerns: How well prepared are you to recognize health warnings and concerns? Do you know the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke? Are you able to provide basic nursing care when needed such as preventing bed sores and changing wound dressings? Do you need the assistance of a trained medical nurse or aide while caring for elderly parents at home?
All of these concerns should be addressed when assessing the safety of your loved ones. Your parent’s home may need updating to accommodate their changing needs. You may also require assistance for medical care and supervising your loved ones. By answering these questions now, you can avoid future problems for your elderly parent’s care.