Hannah Kalil is 83 years old, and lives by herself in upstate New York. She has aides who help with her caregiving throughout the day. But the responsibility of managing her finances, health care -- both mental and physical -- and long-term living situation falls to one person: her daughter -- and my mother -- Eleanor.
It's almost a full-time job. Making sure my grandmother is happy and not feeling lonely means daily visits. Her never-ending stream of medical issues means weekly -- if not more frequent...
Clear the clutter. Get a friend or family member to help you clear your walkways of anything you can trip over. Phone cords, electric wires, pet bowls, and other things can cause trouble. Move it out of the way, or think about getting rid of it.
Light it up. As you get older, you need more light to see. Make sure your light switches are easy to reach, and at the bottom and top of any stairs. Turn the lights on before you get up to move around. And always know where your flashlights are in case the power goes out.
Hold the rails. If you have stairways, put handrails on both sides of them and put treads on each step. Hold on to a railing when you walk up or down the stairs, and go slowly. If you are carrying anything, make sure you can see each step.
Cut the skids. Use self-adhesive, non-skid mats or safety treads in bathtubs, showers, and pools. Put non-skid rugs on bathroom floors and pads under rugs on bare floors.
Grab hold. Consider getting grab bars installed on both sides of toilets and bathtubs. Put handrails in the shower and wherever else you need them.
Toss the throw rugs, or make sure they're secured with double-sided tape. More than half of all falls happen at home. This simple fix can help you keep you safe.
Move it where you use it. Keep items you use often -- food, cans, dishes, clothes -- where you can easily reach them. This way you won't have to climb on a stool.
Wear sturdy shoes inside and outside. Solid footwear helps with your balance. Avoid slippers or walking barefoot.
Once your home is a safe zone, you’re less likely to have accidents. You can move around with more confidence and a renewed sense of independence. But talk to your doctor if you're having any trouble. She may refer you to an occupational therapist, who can come to your home and show you how to make more changes.