At age 86, Bob lived in a retirement community, kept active, and was in decent health until he broke his leg in two places while roller-blading. The injury took weeks to heal and after the cast came off, Bob found it tough to get around. Nearly two months of inactivity had taken a toll, and he needed physical therapy to get stronger. However, a severe bout of the flu took him down again for several weeks. Bob’s three daughters alternated days taking care of him. Once he got over that, he was even weaker than before and now needed a walker. His daughters worried about his fall risk, and they contacted me to do an assessment.
Keeping seniors safe at home is a matter of thoughtful review and planning. In Bob’s case, his advanced age had made it hard for him to just ‘bounce back’ after the leg fracture and the flu. He found it difficult to cook, bathe, and do the chores he used to do. It was even a challenge now for him to maneuver around the house. After I met with Bob, I reviewed with him and his daughters the things they could do to make his life easier – and safer, such as:
- Hiring in-home services to help him with activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, laundry, bathing, etc. I recommended an agency with a solid reputation that could send a home health aide and a companion care aide several times a week.
- Removing the barriers to physical mobility in his house, such as reducing clutter, removing throw rugs, and arranging the furniture so that Bob could move freely about his house with his walker.
- Installing grab bars in the shower, a shower seat, and a non-skid bath mat. I also recommended that the family install safety railings for the exterior stairs to reduce the risk of falls.
- Replacing dim lighting with brighter lights, including a night light that illuminated the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom. Bob’s vision wasn’t like it used to be, and these simple measures made his environment safer.
Are you a family member concerned with keeping an older adult safe at home? A care manager can do a comprehensive assessment of the person’s situation, make recommendations for the services needed, and monitor how things go.
If you need help in the Rochester, New York, area, please reach out to us at 585-787-0009 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If your aging parent is outside of our area, you can still contact us for a referral to a geriatric care manager in other locations.