Home Safety Checklist for Your Aging Mother
Are you worried about your aging mother—especially if she lives alone? Luckily, there are specific steps you can take to make your mom safer in her house AND greatly reduce your need to worry about her. Think of the following 7 steps as your basic Home Safety Checklist for your aging mother:
Remove Fall Hazards . . . Research from the CDC reveals that the #1 cause of injury for seniors is falling. To reduce that risk, make sure you remove everything that could contribute to a fall. This includes pet toys … loose “throw” rugs … piled clutter such as loose shoes, clubs, magazines … extension cords, etc.
Check Those Stairs … Does your aging mother struggle with outside, inside, or basement stairs? Wherever possible, consider replacing outside stairs with gently-inclined ramps, check all stair railings to make sure they are solid and secure, and consider adding one or more stairlifts inside the home.
Protect Against Fire … Change the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors regularly, replace any frayed electrical cords, and remove candles from the home. Discourage the use of space heaters.
Enhance Bathroom Safety … According to the CDC, the riskiest room in a house—especially for someone like an aging mother—is the bathroom. Each year about 235,000 Americans visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered there. So be sure to guard against falls and scalding water by considering installing grab bars in the shower and beside the toilet … adding a walk-in bathtub and raised toilet … and setting the thermostat on the water heater to no higher than 120° F. It’s also a good idea to install a nightlight.
Assess the Bedroom … For an aging mother, accessing the bedroom and bed itself may present unforeseen challenges. Consider placing a grab bar that extends between the floor and ceiling, to ease getting in and out of bed. And replace old-fashioned door knobs with the easier-to-maneuver single-lever type. (Actually, consider doing this throughout the house.)
Access the Kitchen … Your aging mother likely will spend lots of time in the kitchen, so make sure it’s modified for her maximum safety. Does the current set-up require that she reach for items high in a cupboard? Move them to easier-to-reach locations. Also be sure the stove and cooking area do not provide potential hazards, and consider replacing standard twist-and-turn kitchen water faucet handles with easier-to-use, single-lever handles.
Keep Emergency Phone Numbers Easily Available … Be sure to have crucial phone numbers (family members, caregivers, healthcare providers, etc.), easily available, either in or near your mom’s phone. And if your mom has a smartphone featuring lots of confusing bells and whistles she may not need, consider a more basic, easier-to-use model.
Whether your mom is downsizing to a new home or staying in her current one, her safety in a retirement-ready home is a top priority. We hope you’ve found this guidance helpful, and that you’ll contact us whenever you need assistance or have questions regarding buying or selling a house in Maine.
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