If you're parent lives alone, is elderly, and does not yet want to move into a retirement home, then you should make sure that their home and person is as safe as possible. There are several things you can do that will accomplish this. Below are a few suggestions to help get you started.
Switch Out Old Smoke Alarms For New Ones That Flash Light
Many elderly people have trouble hearing. If they happen to leave their hearing aid out, or if it malfunctions, then they won't hear the smoke alarm. The solution to this potential problem is to install a secondary smoke alarm that is designed for the deaf. These alarms flash a blinding light to indicate that they are going off. The light is much stronger than the small flash that a noise operated alarm might have.
Handles For Tub and Shower
A slip and fall in the bathroom can be deadly, so you want to make sure that your parent has something to hold on to. It's best to have a contractor come in and install thick stainless steel handles in the wall of the bathroom, right next to the tub or shower. You should not rely on a towel rack, as these are not designed to hold enough weight.
The stainless steel handles will be drilled right into the studs and secured with heavy-duty bolts. You can bring your parent to a local home improvement store so that they can pick out the design (some are chrome, some are brushed steel and have a duller appearance, and some are powder coated a particular color).
Pill Dispenser With Alarm
If they are taking medication, then this one is essential. The container can be programmed to beep each day at a particular time and remind your parent that they are to take their meds. The best type of container will have individual segments for am and pm, so that they don't have to try and differentiate morning and evening pills on their own. If you are unable to visit once a week and help set up the pills, you can have a home health care worker assist with this.
PERS (Personal Emergency Response System)
These have come a long way from the "I've Fallen and Can't Get Up" commercials that used to saturate the TV. In fact, they are now even being designed to monitor vitals such as heart rate, blood pressure, and other essentials. Your parent won't even have to press a button should a serious situation arise which would cause them to become incapacitated, the machine monitors all of that on its own. Also, now that young people are walking around with Fitbits and other electronic monitoring devices, there is less of a stigma associated with these items, which should make it easy to convince them to wear one. Talk to a home health care provider, like Argus Home Health Care, for more help.