As millions of Americans travel home during the holidays, many adult children may notice their aging parents are declining in health and mobility.
Yet, despite their limitations, seniors continue to climb ladders to change light bulbs, reach for items in high places and go about business as usual because they do not want to be a burden to family members.
"One of the greatest gifts adult children of seniors can give is a full maintenance check around the home to help seniorize it," said Bruce Yawn, executive director of Willow Pond Senior Care.
With research from AARP showing that most seniors wish to remain in their current home as long as they can, adult sons and daughters must address the issue of making daily activities simpler and safer for their parents.
"Each year at least 250,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures. Many of these could be prevented by making small modifications around the house" Yawn said.
Willow Pond Senior Care offers the following tips for families to help seniorize homes:
Simplify daily activities
Store household items on lower shelves.
Provide step stools with handrails.
Have a bench near the door to put down groceries and packages while closing the door.
Ensure all handrails are sturdy.
Remove raises in doorways.
Purchase a phone with larger numbers for those with declining sight.
Replace worn soles on shoes.
Install brighter light bulbs throughout the home.
Make bathrooms safer
Install grab handles near and inside the shower.
Place nonskid mats inside and outside the shower and near toilets.
Provide a shower chair.
Get a high-rise toilet.
Remove hazards around the home
Use night-lights in bathroom and hallways.
Add handrails to stairwells.
Increase lighting on all stairs.
Remove throw rugs.
Move furniture out of walking pathways.
Get rid of buckling carpet.
Install a medical response system
Medical alert devices are available in both pendant necklaces and wristband styles.
When the help button is activated, it alerts the service's call center, who can send emergency responders to the home.