Adapting Your Home for an Elderly Relative
For many of us, there will come a time when we are no longer able to safely live alone. There are a number of options, including moving into a residential home with 24-hour care facilities, moving to supported accommodation where help is close at hand when needed, remaining in the home with either full-time care or occasional care or moving in with family members. Many people prefer to retain as much independence as possible, but it can be worrying for family members who are concerned their relative might become vulnerable to falls or other mishaps. This is why moving in with family members is an increasingly popular option in the UK - it allows the individual to remain in a familiar environment and ensures relatives can help with any day-to-day issues. If you are thinking of moving an elderly relative into your home, you might have some concerns about how to ensure your home is a safe and convenient environment. If your relative requires only minimal assistance and is still fairly mobile, you might need very few adaptations.
If your relative is in a wheelchair or is unable to walk unaided, you might need to install a ramp to ensure easy access to your home. You will also need to ensure your shower is accessible. Low-threshold showers are available and allow easy access to all users. Grab bars are also very useful and can be easily installed onto walls where needed. If your relative will not mainly be living on one floor of your home - for example, in a single-level annexe or similar - you might also need to think about installing a stair lift if stairs pose a problem.
If your relative is expected to retain a certain level of independence while living in your home, you might want to consider a telecare alarm for added peace of mind. There are different types of alarms, including static, mounted alarms and pendant alarms for the elderly. The type of alarm you choose will depend on your main concerns, but you might decide to opt for both a static alarm - in the bathroom or next to the bed, for example - and a pendant alarm your relative can wear on their person at all times. Telecare alarms are an extremely useful safety aid and can help give your relative the confidence to move about the property freely without being scared of what would happen in the event of a fall if the rest of the household is out. With a telecare alarm, the user activates the alarm in the event that they fall, feel unwell or otherwise get into difficulty. The person's emergency contact will then be notified.