Show Parents You Care Improve Safety and Comfort at Home
June. Father’s Day, picnics, pool parties, weddings, family reunions, graduations, vacations, outdoor concerts, and more. There’s never been a better time to inventory surroundings to ensure a safe, comfortable, and inviting space for aging parents and guests – whether they’re just stopping by or settling in for good.
Aging adults, particularly those with dementia, tend to struggle with ambulation, depth perception, memory, balance, coordination and vision and hearing loss. This can sometimes lead to altered perceptions that make small design elements seem bewildering and disorienting. But a few low-cost home modifications can dramatically enhance ease, comfort and independence.
When hosting aging parents, keep visual elements simple. Remove everyday clutter, add visual clues and incorporate low-glare lighting to improve visibility while minimizing shadows. Summer is also the ideal time to inspect premises and handle those small yet critical repairs. Fix cracks in the pavement and adjust uneven walkways or bricks.
For longer stays, repaint rooms in a light solid color to provide a calmer and more relaxing atmosphere and widen doorways to accommodate wheelchairs. You can also opt to install temperature-controlled water faucets, roll-in showers, grab bars and handrails, raised toilets, and low easy-to-reach cabinetry.
Consider installing new technology to keep loved ones safe. This can provide immense peace of mind when caring for parents who are aging in place or residing in a granny flat on premises. For example, automatic lighting with sensors illuminate pathways, while convenience features can automatically turn stoves and appliances off when they’re not in use for a specified period of time. Motion sensors and alarms further mitigate the risk associated with wandering.
For more information on ways to improve the safety and comfort of your loved one’s surroundings, visit or contact your local Agency on Aging, AARP, or the Alzheimer’s Association.