GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The holidays are a wonderful time for multiple generations of a family to gather together, but you need to get your house ready for grandma and grandpa so they can safely move around your home.
From clearing clutter off the floor to installing brighter light bulbs, simple steps can go a long way toward making your home safer and more welcoming for senior loved ones. You might be surprised to learn that even how you set your dining room table could make a difference for someone living with dementia.
Lisa Curry, executive director , Brookdale Minnetonka Parkway Senior Living had some tips for preparing your home for senior guests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one out of four older people will fall this year. Falling is the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people 65 and older.
Clearing clutter: Remove items lying on the floor; put away accent rugs, and remove or tape down power cords. If you need to keep the mat in your entryway, make sure it is secured with non-slip material. Clear leaves and other debris from the outside pathways leading to the house.
Adding light: Replace soft light bulbs with ones that are higher-wattage. Add nightlights throughout your home to help the senior see not only during the night, but also on a dark winter day.
For seniors living with dementia, dining can be a challenge due to visual and physical changes. Simple measures can help in serving them a holiday meal, with examples including:
- Using contrasting colors on the table to help overcome depth-perception issues. Set light-colored plates against a dark tablecloth or vice-versa. Prepare food of varying hues, so that meat and vegetables are easy to differentiate.
- Reducing possible confusion by cutting down or eliminating centerpieces and other decorations.