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Having conversations with your elderly loved ones about their mobility and agency is difficult. When roles are flipped and suddenly the child is caring for the parents, negotiating the eggshells and nuances of this dialogue is important. Giving elderly parents the opportunity to advocate for themselves is the first step. Still, as parents age, their routines and homes might not be as safe as they were in the past, which is why having hard conversations now can help mitigate risk in the future. As you and your senior loved ones plan for them to have a safe retirement, consider these four home hazards that often go unnoticed until it’s too late.
After the age of 60, those with certain lifestyle factors like smoking, prolonged exposure to television or computer screens, along with family history, and race will be at high risk of developing vision problems.. Low light in places like the bathroom and the kitchen can lead to accidents that may have been prevented by simply changing a lightbulb or opting for more energy efficient light sources like LED or CFL bulbs. Make sure a senior’s home is well-lit to help them avoid falls or other accidents.
Keeping senior loved ones independent at home means reconsidering the stairs. Even when seniors feel comfortable using stairs daily, they might not understand their risk. Decreasing bone density due to osteoporosis affects over 10 million seniors in America, making even a slight stumble more dangerous. Although the conversation about stairs, and all the conversations around senior agency and mobility are very personal, it’s helpful to have a doctor’s perspective on the situation as well. Scheduling a meeting with your parents’ doctors and discussing the risk of decreased bone density, falling on stairs, or even just muscle fatigue can help your parents see the value in making this transition.
Although carpet might seem like a solution to potential hazards of tile or hardwood, carpet also has its pitfalls. For seniors who use a cane or walker, carpet can snag both feet and tools, sending them sprawling. When considering carpet in your parents’ home, it might be best to replace high pile carpets or shag rugs, anything that can snag or unravel.
As seniors age and continue living alone at home, the bathroom is easily one of the most dangerous hazards of the home. Dangers presented by hard and slippery surfaces are obvious, but there are other reasons to consider the bathroom a risk. The bright white surfaces of a sparkling clean bathroom can reflect the high lighting of most bathrooms, causing disorientation or dizziness so opting for filtered light in the bathroom might be safer, although be sure this lower light does affect your parents’ vision. Loose shower curtains can tangle around feet and cause spills in the shower among other unexpected hazards of bathrooms for elderly people. Having conversations about safety in the bathroom early and often helps prepare for all the dangers lurking in the typical routines of your senior loved ones.
When it comes to protecting your senior loved ones as they age and their routines change is a full-time job. When you can’t be there regularly to ensure your parents are safe and happy, you might want to consider hiring in-home care providers, or helping your parents relocate to a more suitable house, apartment, or retirement community. Fortunately, finding the extra income to make this possible doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, if your senior loved one still maintains a life insurance policy they no longer need, did you know they can sell all or a portion of that policy for more than the cash surrender value? This is called a life settlement, or viatical. Contact Life Settlement Advisors today to learn more about the life settlement process or see if your parents pre-qualify.
Evelyn lost her husband 5 years ago to cancer and has been living alone ever since. Evelyn’s daughter has insisted that her mom get in home care for a few hours a day. Evelyn was concerned about the cost until she realized that the unneeded life insurance policy she has could be sold to fund the in home care.