After an illness or injury sends one of your aging parent into a short term rehab program, you may need to assess their home environment to identify areas that are in need of safety or comfort improvements. Even after getting back on their feet, your parent may come home fatigued and weak, which can have a considerable impact on mobility. The changes you make to your parents’ living environment can help reduce the chance of suffering another injury or other complications during the full recovery period. If you cannot secure the home well enough for your liking, you can also consider helping your parents make the move to an all-inclusive assisted living community.
1. Upgrading Current Living Environment
Stairways, slick surfaces and improperly secured décor elements (like area rugs) all pose a risk of harm to individuals struggling to recover after returning home from rehab. While mom or dad is still readjusting, you will likely need to make sure that your parent doesn’t have to navigate stairs unnecessarily. Before mom or dad gets home then, you’ll want to rearrange the living space so that all necessary rooms — bedroom, restroom, kitchen — are on the ground floor rather than split between two levels, if possible. It may mean that mom has to stay in the guest suite for a few weeks rather than the master bedroom, but it’s a precaution that can mean the difference between a full recovery and a relapse or another injury.
You can further prepare your parents’ home by installing railings in areas fitted with slick flooring, especially bathrooms and hallways. You should look for raised edges on carpets and either remove the rugs or secure the corners with double sided tape. If your parent will need a walker or cane to move around, perform a test run with the device to make sure all passageways are safe and maneuverable.
2. Hiring a Home Healthcare Aide
Your aging parents may benefit from having a home healthcare aide come by on a daily basis. These professionals provided assistance with many of the same tasks needed in short term rehab. The aide will help with daily personal care tasks, meal prep, cleaning, shopping and simple medical procedures.
Healthcare aides remain close by to note any confusion, pain or other health problems, and then report them to the overseeing physician. You can elect to have a 24-hour nurse remain with your parents or just have someone stop by for a few hours each day. The total amount of time required by the aide depends on your parent’s recovery progress and overall health condition.
3. Moving to an Assisted Living Community
While weighing your options, you may realize that your parents’ home cannot be appropriately prepared before the scheduled rehab release date. Your ailing parent may need more care or a better living environment than can be provided at home. If this is the case, you can help your parents move into an assisted living community.
These communities provide a safe, secure and enjoyable environment where your aging parents can thrive.
With onsite health monitoring and services, you will never have to worry about your parents’ health or safety while they are residing in an assisted living community. And many older adults enjoy full access to community amenities and social activities that help them build close knit friendships with other residents.
Make the Decision Together
If possible, involve your aging parents in the decision-making process if there are to be changes in their living environment. You should take the time to voice your concerns and ideas before giving your parents the opportunity to share their feelings about the matter with you. Since changes are difficult to make while recovering from illness or injuries, especially after release from short term rehab, it is important to give this process some time. Come to a compromise and do your best to prepare the living environment your parents choose to enjoy.
If possible, take a tour of a local assisted living community and discuss the pros and cons of moving there. After your visit, encourage your parents to discuss the decision amongst themselves as well. You can always reassess at a later date if your parent’s medical needs change or worsen.