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8 Ways to Make Your Place Secure for Older Parents

A happy home is a safe home when considering these important tips

8 Ways to Make Your Place Secure for Your Elderly Parents

Nick Ferrari

Follow these important tips to prevent harm to your loved ones.

1. Clear the path. Remove throw rugs, and repair loose carpeting or raised areas of flooring. Move low furniture to avoid potential tripping hazards, and clear electric cords and any clutter that could cause a fall.

2. Install anti-scalding devices. They automatically turn off water that gets too hot and can be installed easily in showers and tubs. Plus, they are inexpensive (about $40). You can also turn down the thermostat on your water heater so it never gets above 120 degrees.

3. Light the way. Use night-lights in hallways, stairwells and bathrooms, and put bright lightbulbs in closets.

4. Minimize bathroom hazards. Install grab handles and nonskid mats inside and outside the shower or tub. Taller toilets and shower seats are also recommended for people with mobility issues.

5. Steady their steps. Add sturdy handrails to stairways (even a second handrail on the opposite wall) and put treads on steps. Be sure to use only nonslip floor wax.

6. Cooking care. If an older parent is using the kitchen, place pots and pans at waist level for easy access. Devices such as timers and motion sensors can automatically turn off ovens and stove tops if left unattended.

7. Consider a granny cam. Need to keep track of an older adult while working or running errands? Surveillance cameras now come with motion detectors and let you check a live feed from your smartphone. Just be sure to get permission from your loved one.

8. Get a handle. Arthritic hands can have a hard time turning a round doorknob. Consider lever-style handles, and use door locks that can be opened from both sides.

5 Hidden Hazards

1. Lead: Up to 20 percent of exposure comes from drinking water tainted by contaminated pipes. Ask your water authority to test your pipes — and repair them if necessary.

2. Carbon monoxide: This invisible gas is a killer. Make sure you have a CO alarm on each floor.

3. Radon: This colorless, odorless gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

4. Mold: Mold is bad for the respiratory and immune systems.

5. Dust mites: These microscopic critters, which are found in carpeting and bedding, can aggravate asthma and allergies.

From "99 Great Ways to Make Your Home Healthier and Safer"

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