Magazine article Work & Family Life

Imagine Getting around the House with a Walker

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Imagine Getting around the House with a Walker

Article excerpt

A study by the Seniors Research Group found that .more than 80% of grown children said they were concerned about their parents' safety and security. When they were asked what it would take to improve the situation, the adult children mentioned getting a cellular phone (40%), adding outdoor lighting (39%) and installing a home security system (37%). Here are some other ideas for making a home safer.

Take a fresh

look

A majority of older Americans live in homes that lack some of the modern safety features of newer buildings. With this in mind, take a fresh look at your parent's residence. Each room may present possible dangers now and as your elder's abilities diminish with age. Work with your parents to find, reduce and eliminate potential hazards.

Rearrange furniture for easy passage. Make sure that collectibles and other memorabilia are carefully stored and are not blocking hallways, doorways or stairs. Eliminate dangling electrical cords. Make sure all plants are within easy reach for watering.

Encourage your elder to take advantage of some of the innovations in telephone technology: wireless phones, amplifiers, extra-large numbers and the programming of important numbers. What about a device that turns on a lamp when the telephone rings?

If your parent uses a walker or a wheelchair, make sure all daily activities are easily doable such as looking through the peephole on the front door, feeding the cat, using the bathroom, washing dishes and emptying the trash. Some people also put a portable phone in a basket on a walker.

Make sure lighting is adequate.

Stronger lightbulbs may make the difference. Is a light flashlight handy in case of a power outage?

Check the water beater to make sure it is set at a level that does not pose a danger for scalding.

Make sure that no curtains, towels, or other flammable items are too close to the stove. Place bright, easy-to-read labels on stove dials-and mark the "oEI" setting clearly. Replace stove-top appliances such as a tea kettle with the kind that have an automatic shutoff feature.

Rearrange cabinets and drawers. Put items used daily on lower shelves. Label cupboards and drawers: canned foods, plates, etc. Make sure your parent has some nonbreakable glasses and dishes in bright colors and pretty patterns. …

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