The typical Minnesota home is not built to accommodate the elderly and aging. A few simple steps can get you started in guarding against falls and creating a safe, comfortable environment for your parent. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Resources are available for in-home care, financial aid or aging-in-place initiatives for mom’s home, so explore all of your options and then follow these simple tips to prepare to welcome her into your home if it’s the best option.
The Simplest Safeguard: Lighting
“People in their sixties need three to four times normal household lighting,” said Alissa Boroff of Access Solutions. “More lighting makes the home safer from trips and falls and helps seniors function better. Be careful not to have table lamps where they can be bumped or create a falling hazard.” Brighter bulbs and more lighting sources may be all you need.
The Biggest Safety Hazard: Bathroom
“Most older adults need bathroom accessories,” said Boroff. “There is a trend toward comfort-height toilets. People with limited mobility may need them just to sit down and get up. People of all ages find them more comfortable.” Safety bars and grips for getting in and out of the shower — avoid tubs — prevent accidents for people of all ages.
Biggest Barrier in the Home: Stairs
Converting a spare room on the main floor into a bedroom is the easiest solution. Getting a lift or an elevator may be needed depending on your home design, especially for steps into the house. Minnesota homes are seldom built at ground level, making handicapped accessibility a problem for many citizens. You may need to build a ramp if mom’s mobility is hampered. Lifts and elevators can do the job as well.
Just Being There for Mom
“You can get pretty frazzled worrying about all the personal care details if you have not arranged for home health care,” said Shelly Elkington of Avenues for Care, an organization that provides Personal Care Assistants in the home. “What many forget, with two people working outside the home during the day, someone may have to give medications, prepare meals, drive the parent to the clinic or to do their hair.” Elkington recommends calling your Minnesota county social service agency for senior care services and additional assistance tips in your area. Here are a few places to help get you started.
The following local businesses may be able to help you get started:
1007 E. 14th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Alissa Boroff of Access Solutions, a division of Augustana Therapy Services, can check your home for accessibility issues or help your parent stay in his or her current home with a few minor alterations.
Avenues for Care, Inc.
101 S. 1st St., Ste. 200
Montevideo, MN 56265
Avenues for Care provides home cares services in western and central Minnesota.
Senior LinkAge Line
Seniors, their families and caregivers are encouraged to use Senior LinkAge Line to find help. This comprehensive website, a part of MinnesotaHelp.info has an abundance of information on senior accommodations.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.