Making Reasonable Adjustments In The Home For The Elderly

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Ashley Mallett is a Conveyancing Solicitor in the York office, and one of our Dementia Friends.

Here, he provides 10 tips on how to make your home dementia friendly and also reasonable adjustments that you can take if you care for or regularly have elderly visitors.

1. Install a key safe outside your home

This will allow family members, carers and other individuals who need access to the property to safely gain entry, provided they know the code.

2. Install a door alarm

If you have an elderly relative living with you who visits and you are concerned about them leaving the property without your knowledge, you may install a door alarm which will alert you when the door is opened.

3. Consider installing a stair lift

If you have stairs, you may wish to consider mobility issues and how easy it is for you or a relative to get up and down them. A stair lift is a relatively cost efficient way to adapt your home and can usually be taken out relatively easily if you move.

4. Install and maintain good outside lighting & ensure paths and gardens are well maintained

This will help with the risks of trips and falls in the winter months as well as boost security. It will also allow Ambulance crews visibility and a easier sight of the house in the event of an emergency in the hours of darkness as well as allowing access. Ensure a stretcher or wheelchair can be easily moved to or from the property to access roads.

5. Fit locks on to cupboard doors where washing detergents and cleaning products are kept

This will help to keep harmful substances, which could be confused with everyday items out of harm’s way.

6. Consider placing labels or signage on the door to each room so they are clearly labelled.

In a confused state, someone with dementia can easily lose their co-ordinates around a home. Placing signage on each door can help with direction as well as making walking around the home less stressful

7. Ensure that all hazards are stowed away and no wires are left trailing

Individuals with poor mobility, sight or hearing may not perceive such hazards. This is general good practice anyway, but always double check in should circumstances.

8. Consider making the neighbours aware

If you live on an estate where you can rely on your neighbours, it’s often worthwhile making sure they are aware. Therefore, if they see your relative on the street alone, or struggling, they can assist or alert you to a potential issue before it escalates.

9. Make sure you have or consider toilet and washing facilities on each level

This will ensure that facilities are always accessible and reduces the risk of rushing or accidents.

10. Ensure you or a loved one have a valid Lasting Power of Attorney

Without an LPA, if you or your loved one loses mental capacity, the only way to sell the Property on their behalf would be by way of a Deputyship order, which can be costly, stressful and time consuming. 

If you or a loved one has mental capacity, you should consider whether a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Financial Affairs would benefit you. This would allow a trusted third party, such as a close family member or professional to deal with your property and financial assets should you not be able to.

Of course, these are just guidance and we would always recommend taking advice from a Social Worker, GP or other health professional before taking any action.

If you would like to know how we may be able to assist you in planning for old age or for provisions for elderly client, or to chat to us about making a Lasting Power of Attorney please contact our Wills & Probate team who will be able to assist you. 

If you are considering moving home to somewhere more suitable for yourself or an elderly relative, please contact our Conveyancing Team for advice on how we may be able to assist you. For more advice, contact myself at ashley.mallet@isonharrison.co.uk or alternatively call us on 0113 284 5000.

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