More and more adults are finding themselves part of the so-called sandwich generation. These working-age adults are often caught between two families – caring for their own spouses and children while trying to keep their elderly parents safe at home.
How to Care for Your Loved One at Home?
Some members of the sandwich generation solve this dilemma by moving their parents into their homes, while others check in on their mom or dad several times a day. No matter which approach you take, there are some common-sense safety tips you can use to reduce the risk of falls for those you care about.
How Important is Bathroom Safety?
Overall home safety is important, but safety in the bathroom can be even more critical. The hard surfaces and slippery areas in the typical bathroom can create specific hazards for older men and women, especially those whose balance is not as good as it once was.
If you are caring for an elderly loved one, either in your own home or in theirs, you need to take bathroom safety seriously. Here are 10 practical bathroom safety tips you can use to protect your parents as they age.
1. Install a bright LED night light in the bathroom. Having a light in the bathroom will make it easier for your older loved one to navigate.
2. Tack down or otherwise secure any throw rugs. Throw rugs are great for the bathroom, but they can create a serious slipping hazard if not properly secured.
3. Install safety bars and handholds throughout the bathroom, including a sturdy frame on the toilet, grab bars in the bathtub and shower enclosure, and handles by the door.
4. Consider replacing the traditional bathtub and shower with a walk-in model. A walk-in tub with a shower seat is a great solution for seniors with balance problems or memory difficulties.
5. Use a non-skid bath mat in the bathtub to prevent falls. Check the bath mat every time you visit and replace it when it starts to wear out.
6. Clearly mark the hot and cold faucets with large color-coded stickers. Seniors with memory problems often confuse the hot and cold faucets and suffer burns as a result.
7. Set the water heater no higher than 120 degrees. Setting it higher could make burns and scalds more likely.
8. Install a door lock that can be opened from the outside. You need to make sure you can reach your elderly loved one quickly in an emergency.
9. Purchase a cordless phone with multiple handsets and place one of the extra handsets in the bathroom. Mount the phone on the wall to keep it away from any water sources.
10. Consider enrolling your loved one in a medical alert system that can detect falls and automatically contact the authorities. This will give you extra peace of mind when your elderly parents live alone.
Being a member of the sandwich generation can be tough, but dealing with the challenges of aging is even harder. As a concerned son or daughter, there are things you can do to improve home safety and reduce the risk of falls and injuries. Focusing on bathroom safety is a good place to start, and once the bathroom is as safe as it can be, you can work on improving safety in the rest of the home.