Is Your Parent’s Home Secure?
In your role as a family caregiver one of the most important priorities in your life will be making sure that your aging parent stays as safe as possible. While you might immediately think of mobility limitations and even cognitive functioning decline and how they might impact your senior when you are considering their safety, it is also critical that you think of their environment itself. Your parent’s home environment is a major player in their safety and security, making it critical that you take the time to evaluate it and identify any areas that might need to change so that you can make meaningful modifications to help improve their safety as they age in place.
Some things to keep in mind when considering the security of your parent’s home include:
- Door locks. Gone are the days when many people comfortably left their doors unlocked. It is important that your parent’s home be properly locked at all times, particularly if they are showing signs of wandering tendencies and may leave the home without supervision and potentially be in danger. Go through your parent’s home and find all access points to the outside. Ensure that the locks on them are strong and consider adding additional locks. Those that require a key rather than using a thumb turn, and those that are placed unexpectedly, such as toward the top of the door or on the floor, tend the be the most secure.
- Window locks. Windows can be particularly vulnerable, especially those that are close to the ground or that are concealed from clear street view. If your parent’s home still has simple glass windows, consider replacing them with more resistant versions. These will not only help to make your parent’s home more secure with their impact resistance and stronger, less accessible locks, but they will also help to make the home more weather resistant with better climate control.
- Porch view. It is not uncommon for criminals to come to the door as a means of gaining access or of gathering information from someone to determine if they are vulnerable. It is important that your elderly parent and anyone caring for them is able to see who may be standing at the door so that they can make the decision as to whether to open the door. If your parent’s home does not have a window that gives a clear view of the street, driveway, and front porch, consider adding a peephole that will allow them to look out. For added security, consider adding a security camera that has built-in video stream and sound. This enables them to communicate with the person outside without opening the door.
If your parent’s needs, limitations, and challenges have become more than you feel that you can handle effectively and efficiently, your schedule has changed and you are no longer able to be with them as often as you would like to, or you simply feel that they would benefit from diversified attention during their later years, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. A care provider can be in the home with your elderly loved one on a schedule that is right not just for their individual needs and limitations, but also the care that you are able to give to them. This means that they are able to help your senior remain safe, happy, healthy, and comfortable while also pursuing a lifestyle that is as active, engaged, independent, and fulfilling as possible as they age in place. This can give your parent reassurance while giving you tremendous peace of mind knowing that even when you are not able to be with them, they are getting everything that they need, easing your caregiver stress and improving quality of life for both you and your senior.