Install Handicap Devices in the Home of your Aging Parent

Equip the home or apartment with handicap devices: hold-on bars in the bath, levered door-knobs, large numbered telephones, colored paint points on the thermostat and stove dials.

I’m 61, fairly healthy, and I never had to think of any of these handicap things before. But now, my Mom is in her 80’s and lives 1500 miles away. She lives alone in her apartment and is fairly healthy herself. She gets around quite easily.

  • Mom's apartment already had 2 or 3 hold-on bars around the bathtub. I even found myself using them when I would visit. Mom uses them all the time- although she still won’t take a shower unless one of here friends is sitting in the living room in case she falls.

  • Changing the door knobs to door levers is also a great idea. In fact, I changed all the door knobs in my own house that way. It makes it a lot easier for Mom. She is developing arthritis and loss of strength and even feeling in her hands.

  • My Mom’s vision is failing because of macular degeneration. We have had a lot of advice about this. She now has a telephone with very large numbers on it. It is easier identify and press the numbers to “dial”.

  • We also put a big dab of bright red and yellow thick artists paint on any dials so Mom can read them easier. The thermostat, dials on the stove, the electric toaster oven. A great help.

  • Mom walks quite well by herself, but there are always a couple of walking canes at the front door for when she goes out. One has a grip adapter on the end for when it is slippery outside in the winter.

  • Even if she doesn’t drive anymore, Mom has obtained a “handicap” sign for parking that she keeps in her pocket when she goes out. She uses it when friends take her shopping or when she comes to visit or when we are on vacation together.

  • keep an eye out for any other ideas that can be elder care solutions for the home or apartment.

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