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Top 5 Must-Haves for an Aging Parent Living Alone

When visiting with your aging parent living alone over the holidays, take some time to check over their home to ensure they are as safe as possible. There are many things to check for to ensure they are still safely living independently. I recently wrote about signs to look for in your loved one’s habits and appearance, but you should also make sure they have the following items in place, for their own health and safety.

Here are the top five things to equip your senior parents with in their home:

  • A pre-programmed phone: Pre-programming a parent’s phone can eliminate difficulties in the case that they need to call someone in the case of an emergency. Be sure to program important and frequently used numbers on the phone and place an easy-to-read chart of the short cuts right next to the phone. For instance, program emergency services, family members, and doctors for easily made calls.
  • Automatic Locked Pill Dispensers – the average senior takes multiple prescription medications on a daily basis.  Remember when to take them is challenging enough but insuring that they are not mixed up or fall on the floor is equally dangerous not only for the person but any children that happen to be visiting.  There are several pill dispensers on the market that are tamper-proof, locked and will alert you when you are running low.
  •  Safety devices in the bathrooms: As the floors and surfaces in a bathroom can become especially slippery, it is vital to have safety devices such as grab-bars and shower benches in the bathroom in order to prevent falls and to steady seniors as they move around their bathrooms.
  • A Vial of L.I.F.E. information sheet: In case of an emergency, this is a great thing for seniors to have posted somewhere easily seen, perhaps on their refrigerator. A Vial of L.I.F.E. (LIFE standing for Lifesaving Information For Emergencies) has all of your parent’s vital information such as their name, hospital preference, medical conditions, emergency contacts, and insurance information posted for emergency personnel to have easy access to. This is especially useful if during the emergency situation the senior cannot give the information themselves. Download a blank Vial of L.I.F.E. sheet to fill out for your elderly parent here.
  • Monitoring systems.  One out of every three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall.  Falls are the leading cause of serious injury among seniors and can be the start of a rapid physical decline. Whether you live a mile away or 1000 miles away from your parents, a monitoring system with motion sensors and alarms that can alert you if there is a problem is crucial.  Additionally if there is an emergency, first responders can be notified immediately.  There are several on the market that can meet your particular needs.Equipping your parent’s house with a medical alert button will assure you that in the case of an injury, fall, or sudden illness they will be able to call for the medical attention they require. Many of these come with buttons that can be worn as a bracelet or necklace for constant accessibility, and many of them offer two-way communication with the medical alert support team so that communication can be maintained while your parent waits for medical assistance.

If your parent is still able to live independently and is not quite ready to live conveniently with you in a PALS Built modular home, be sure to utilize these necessities to keep them safe and allow you to have peace of mind.


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  1. […] alone may have some special needs, too. SafetyMom reminds us of that with her very helpful post on 5 must-haves for elderly parents who live alone, which includes some simple but essential tools for keeping your parents safe and independent. […]

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