Ageing in your home

I find myself talking about my aging parents a lot, and I realize that most of my friends and colleagues are experiencing the same thing. This is an eye-opener for me because as a child I always assumed my parents would “live forever… they will never get old”. Of course, I knew it wasn’t true, but it was a way of pushing away the very fact that they will get old and will need me more than ever now.

My four sisters and I are at that stage in our lives where worrying about how our parents are doing is a daily concern. Trips to the hospitals, finding them an apartment and recently selling their beloved home has been an emotional roller coaster for them. Their coping skills have greatly diminished, so this has been a massive transition for them.

I’m sharing this with you because the baby boomers, which are the up and coming generation of seniors, are aging and we need to prepare ourselves.

Here is a safety checklist if you want to stay at home:

  • Do all your entrances have functioning outdoor lights?
  • Are there railings on all decks, stairways?
  • What kind of traction is in the stairs?
  • Can you reach the mailbox easily?
  • Are all the throw rugs and scatter mats secured in place or removed to avoid tripping?
  • If you use floor wax, is it the non-skid one?
  • Where is your First Aid kit?
  • Do you have solid handrails on both sides of the stairwell?
  • Is there a smoke detector on every floor of the house? A carbon monoxide detector?
  • Are there non-slip surfaces in the tub or shower?
  • Are there night lights in the bathroom and hallways?
  • Is there a clear, uncluttered path from your bedroom to the bathroom?
  • Are there grab bars near the toilets, shower, and tub?
  • Is there a bath seat in the shower for sitting?
  • In the kitchen are dials for the stove clearly marked?
  • Do you have heat resistant oven mitts near where you are cooking?
  • Are you making sure not to wear loose clothing when cooking?
  • Is your bed high or low enough to make it easier to rise or lie down?
  • Is there a telephone on each floor of the house?
  • Are the faucets easy to turn on? If not, install lever ones.

This information comes from The Safe Living Guide from the Government of Canada.

If the little things you do to make their place safer buys you more time with them, then I would say this is invaluable!

And if the time comes when you are overwhelmed, downsizing to simplify your life is the best decision. My parents regret having not moved sooner because as they age, their coping skills decline.