Senior Living Q & A: Where should elderly parents live?

Q. My parents want to stay in their home of 50 years, but I am concerned about their safety. Wouldn’t they be better off in an assisted-living community?

 Not necessarily. They probably are very comfortable in their home. They are familiar with the community. They have friends here.

Of course, their home should be evaluated for safety hazards. Is there clutter that they might trip over? Are there throw rugs that pose a safety hazard? Are there railings wherever there are stairs? Seeing to these issues will go a long way in the safety department.

There are modifications that can be made to the home that will make it more comfortable for them. Getting a walker or wheelchair through doorways can be difficult, but there are offset hinges that will provide a few more inches of clearance. Adding grab bars and a non-slip surface in the shower will increase your parents’ safety in the bathroom.

As time goes by, your parents may need to hire someone to take them grocery shopping or to do the shopping and cooking for them. There are many restaurants in our area that will deliver, if meal planning is becoming difficult. Housecleaning services are readily available. They may need to have an aid help them with bathing and personal care. These are services which are readily available in our community.

The most important thing to keep in mind (barring any cognitive impairments) is to honor your parents’ wishes. If they desire to stay in their home, you should do all you can to keep it that way as long as possible.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, email it to or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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