With Remembrance Sunday still close on our mind it’s a time to reflect on how we should constantly be grateful to the older generation for their contributions to our present day life -particularly our relatives. The most-recent UK population data shows that the number of old and elderly people is rising year on year, with 18% of the country now aged over 65 and 2.4% aged over 85. Whilst it is mandatory in several cultures to move elderly relatives into the family home (immediate or extended) to take care of them, here in the UK many of these elderly people still live in their own homes, often without their immediate family nearby.
Space, or lack of rather — particularly in large cities like London — is often a factor in the decision of whether an elderly relieve should live with you. So, if living with you is a no-no but you have concerns about their wellbeing, then now is the time to act and help adapt their homes to make them more accessible.
What follows are several examples of essential adaptations you can make.
Wall rails and grab bars
There are some key areas around their home where grab bars and rails can help your parents get around easier and help limit the chance of them falling. These include:
- The main and rear entrance to their property
- Their stairs
- In the bathroom next to the toilet and in the bath/shower
- Next to their bed
- Next to their preferred seating area
Removing slip and trip hazards
You can also help limit the chance of them falling and seriously injuring themselves by decluttering their home and removing any slip or trip hazards.
Key examples of this include any rugs they have on laminate flooring, small cabinets, units or footrests and extension cords and wires.
If your relatives live in a property with two or more floors, then it’s a good idea to get a stairlift fitted to help them get up and downstairs easier. Having additional handrails for these at the foot and top of their stairs would also be a useful feature.
Lowering cupboards and shelving
You can lower shelving units and cupboard fixtures to just above waist height, or low enough so they don’t have to reach up to access items.
Ramps for mobility options
If your elderly relative uses wheelchairs or mobility scooters, then you should get ramps installed at the front and rear of their home to make easier for them to get in and out. Depending on the length of the ramp though, you might need planning permission.
Local care and connections
If you live far away from your relative and can’t easily reach them when needed, you should look to make some local connections who can check on them. This might be their neighbours, friends who live locally or alternatively you could invest in some paid care support.
With the above in place and the regular calls and visits you’ll make, you should be able to afford peace of mind for you and your parents. All this will also help them to live more independently in their later years and ultimately will let them enjoy their retirement much more.