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Home Safety for Seniors with Parkinson’s Disease & Related Conditions

Home should always be a place where we feel safe and comfortable. However, a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease or related condition can change what was once a sanctuary into something challenging and even risky.

Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous system – its causes are unknown and a cure has not yet been found.

Parkinson’s and other conditions can cause physical and cognitive challenges, such as:

  • Mobility Issues - Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions can cause stiffness, tremors, and difficulty with balance and coordination. These are among the top issues that make it challenging for older adults to move around safely within their homes.
  • Risk of Falls - Balance problems and sudden movements associated with Parkinson’s increase the risk of falls, which can result in serious injuries and complications.
  • Medication Confusion - Managing complex medication regimens and adhering to strict dosing schedules can be overwhelming for someone whose condition affects their cognitive function.
  • Fatigue and Low Energy - Chronic fatigue and fluctuations in energy levels can affect a senior’s ability to perform daily tasks and maintain household routines.
  • Impaired Decision-Making - A condition that causes memory loss, confusion, or difficulty with decision-making may impact an elderly individual’s ability to navigate their home environment safely.
  • Communication Difficulties - Speech and swallowing difficulties (common symptoms of Parkinson’s) can hinder effective communication with caregivers and family members, leading to misunderstandings and frustration.
  • Social Isolation - Limited mobility, communication challenges, and disease progression may contribute to social isolation and feelings of loneliness.

How To Create a Safe Home Environment for Older Adults

Depending on an individual’s home situation, like whether they live with a domestic partner and/or are a danger to themselves or others, it is possible to remain living at home. But to ensure that living at home is safe, here are a few tips from Right at Home experts.

Declutter - Remove tripping hazards such as loose rugs, cluttered pathways, and low-lying furniture. Declutter surfaces so they do not add to disorientation or mental distress.

Secure Carpets and Rugs - Use non-slip backing or double-sided tape to secure carpets and rugs to the floor, preventing them from shifting and causing trips or falls. If necessary, remove area rugs.

Rearrange Furniture - Arrange furniture to create clear, wide pathways for easy movement, especially if mobility is compromised.

Install Grab Bars and Handrails - In areas like bathrooms, hallways, and staircases, install sturdy grab bars and handrails to provide support and stability.

Improve Lighting - Ensure adequate lighting throughout the home to reduce the risk of falls. Use bright, energy-efficient bulbs, and consider motion-sensing lights in key areas like hallways and bathrooms to illuminate pathways at night.

Consider Accessibility Modifications - Depending on individual needs, consider installing ramps, stair lifts, or elevators to facilitate movement between different levels of the home.

How Technology Can Help Keep the Home Safe for Seniors

Embrace smart-home technology to automate tasks and enhance safety. Voice-controlled assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant can help you control lights and thermostats and even lock doors with simple voice commands.

Invest in wearable devices or home-monitoring systems equipped with fall detection capabilities. These systems can automatically alert caregivers or emergency services in the event of a fall or emergency.

Search your device’s app store for medication management platforms. These can help organise prescriptions, set reminders, and track medication adherence, helping individuals to stay on schedule and reducing the risk of missed or duplicated doses.

Install home-monitoring cameras to remotely keep an eye on your elderly loved one and ensure their safety when you or other caregivers are not present. Be sure to inform everyone of the cameras presence and be sensitive about locations where privacy is important.

Tips for Family Caregivers or Partners

In addition to making home adaptations and installing technological devices, family, friends, and caregivers can also provide additional support.

Encourage Independence - Encourage as much independence and autonomy in daily activities as possible. Your loved one may still want to participate in household tasks to the best of their abilities.

Be Patient and Understanding - Understand that tasks may take longer or require additional assistance and offer support without being overbearing. Expect frustration or anger with new life changes.

Seek Support and Respite - Take advantage of respite care services, support groups, and community resources that can help prevent burnout and protect wellbeing. Right at Home’s professional caregivers are happy to provide respite care, domestic assistance, and companionship care when needed.

Stay Informed and Engaged – Stay informed about the latest advancements in home safety technology. Engage with health care professionals, support networks, and advocacy organisations to access valuable information and support services.

By adapting things at home and embracing technology, older adults living with Parkinson’s or other chronic conditions can enhance their safety and independence within the comfort of their own homes. With the unwavering support and understanding of family caregivers, spouses, and domestic partners, seniors can continue to thrive and enjoy a fulfilling quality of life despite the challenges they may face.

Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links: 

Australian Government Department of Health 

Victorian Health and Human Services 

NSW Health 

Queensland Health 

ACT Health 

WA Department of Health 

Tasmanian Department of Health 

Northern Territory Department of Health 

SA Health 

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no package management fees, Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget. 

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one. 

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website. 

Right at Home Offices in Australia: ACT & Queanbeyan; ACT Canberra; Adelaide Central; Brisbane Bayside; Brisbane North; Brisbane South; Brisbane West; Central Queensland & Wide Bay; Central West New South Wales; Darling Downs; Far North Queensland; Gold Coast North; Gold Coast South; Gosford; Greater Logan; Hunter & Port Stephens; Ipswich Lockyer Valley; Kalgoorlie Wheatbelt; Macarthur Penrith; Mackay; Melbourne Brighton: Melbourne Glen Waverley; Melbourne North; Moreton Bay Region; Newcastle; Noosa, Gympie & Hinterland; Northern Rivers; Padstow St George; Perth Midland; Perth Northern Suburbs; Perth South Eastern Suburbs; Perth West Coast; Southern NSW; Southwest Victoria; Sunshine Coast; Sydney Central & Eastern Suburbs; Sydney Five Dock; Sydney Inner West; Sydney Liverpool; Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Northern Beaches; Sydney Norwest; Sydney Parramatta; Sydney Ryde; Sydney Sutherland Shire; Sydney The Hills; Sydney Upper North Shore; Townsville; 

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