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Anoka, Minnesota

2006 N 1st Ave Ste 205 , Anoka, MN 55303

(763) 786-1000

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Creating a Safe and Comfortable Home Environment for Aging Loved Ones

As our loved ones age, it is increasingly important to ensure their living environment is safe, comfortable, and conducive to their changing needs. With a few simple modifications, you can create a home that supports their independence and enhances their quality of life. When you do this, be sure to be gentle as some of the changes may be difficult to accept.  Here are some tips for making your home safer and more comfortable for aging family members:

Lovely retired couple talking on the sofa
1. Declutter and Organize
Clear pathways: Remove any clutter or obstacles that could make it difficult for your loved one to move around the house safely.  Remember that falls are the biggest risk to seniors losing their independence suddenly.  
Organize frequently used items: Keep commonly used items within easy reach to prevent the need for climbing or stretching.  This is especially true in the kitchen!  

2. Improve Lighting
Increase brightness: Make sure the home is well-lit to reduce the risk of falls.  With the advancement in LED lighting, you can still maintain brightness without having the light be stark.  Warm or natural light may be their preference.  
Install nightlights: Place nightlights in hallways, bathrooms, and other areas to help your loved one navigate the house at night.

3. Modify the Bathroom

Keep your bathroom safe with minor modifications
Bathrooms are the most dangerous room in the home. 
Install grab bars: Mount grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or bathtub to provide support and stability.  Avoid using suction cup-type bars that may fail over time.  
Add non-slip mats: Place non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower and on the bathroom floor to prevent slips and falls.  Here is additional information on bathroom safety.

4. Make Kitchen Modifications
Lower countertops: Lower countertops to make them more accessible for someone who uses a wheelchair or mobility aid.  This may be a special countertop for them at the end of an island or to share their meal with others. 
Install easy-to-reach shelving: Keep commonly used items within reach and avoid the need for climbing or bending.  

5. Create a Comfortable Bedroom
Choose a comfortable mattress: Invest in a supportive mattress to ensure a good night's sleep.  When selecting a mattress you may want to make sure the edges will stay supportive to help getting in and out of bed--some designs break down faster than others, so ask the salesperson!  
Install a pole: If getting out of bed is an issue you could have a pole installed next to the bed so they can stand up safely.  An occupational therapist can help with the placement and a handyman like TrueBlue can ensure it’s secure!

6. Consider Home Automation
Smart home devices: Consider installing smart home devices, such as voice-controlled lights or thermostats, to make daily tasks easier.  You can even find light bulbs that turn on as you enter a room.  
Medical alert systems: Invest in a medical alert system that allows your loved one to call for help or does it automatically if they fall.  Pendants are often left on the back of a door after a shower, so be sure the main system can hear them from anywhere in the home if they need to shout for help.  

7. Regular Safety Checks
Check for hazards: Regularly inspect the home for hazards such as loose rugs, uneven flooring, or exposed wires.  If they have to have a throw rug they love, ask to tape down the edges so it’s less of a slip or trip issue.  
Schedule regular maintenance: Ensure that smoke, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety devices are in good working order.  Have the furnace inspected in the Fall.  

8. Encourage Social Interaction
Create inviting spaces: Create comfortable and inviting spaces where your loved one can socialize with friends and family.
Arrange transportation: Arrange transportation or help your loved one get a ride so they can maintain social connections and engage in community activities.

Seniors staying engaged with each other.

By making these modifications, you can help your aging loved one remain safe, independent, and comfortable in their home for as long as possible. Creating a home environment that meets their changing needs will not only improve their quality of life but also provide you with peace of mind knowing that they are safe and well-cared for.   

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