Dear Family Resource,
My wife and I, together with my brother and his wife, will be traveling out of town to visit our mom and celebrate her 80th birthday. While we’re there we plan to take a close look at her home to see what we can do to make it safer for her. Can you give us some ideas of what to look for and what to do?
I think it’s terrific you want to visit your mother to celebrate her 80th and make sure her home is safe. Before you go, search the internet for “home safety checklists”, like this one. You’ll find many examples, including some that focus specifically on creating a safe living space for older adults. The lists will take you room by room and will include such topics as lighting, clutter, accessible pathways, furniture, grab bars, rugs, electrical safety, medications/health, stairs, exterior of the home, etc.
In addition, you may want to check in with and observe your mother to make sure she is taking care of herself. Does she need help or support? Topics you may want to discuss include: regular doctor visits with her primary physician, medication review, advanced directives and emergency contacts, nutrition, — and whether she is still safe living at home alone? If you notice changes in your mother’s mental or physical condition, you may want to contact a care manager to help you assess your mother and her living situation and to make recommendations to keep her safe and independent at home. You can also contact a home care agency to provide intermittent or ongoing assistance at home.
My best to you and your family,