If your elderly parent is about to move in with you, you've probably spent time thinking about how to make the interior of your home better suited to their needs. But what about the outside of your home? Your parent will need to enter and exit the home, and they're probably going to want to spend some time in the yard or on the porch. It's important that these areas are safe for them. Here are a few changes you may want to make to your home's exterior before having your older parent move in.
You might scamper up the steps without a thought, but your older parent will need to hold onto a railing. If any of your staircases are missing railings (even if they're just one step) now is the time to put railings in. You can purchase pre-assembled railing kits at most home improvement stores, but if you're short on time, you may want to just have a contractor from a company like Finelli Architechtural Iron & Stairs put in a customized railing for you. This is a rather small, inexpensive job that can usually be completed in an afternoon.
If your stairs do have railings, take time to check their integrity. Make sure they don't wiggle when you put weight on them, and tighten the screws if they seem loose. If you have wooden railings, run your hands over them to check for splinters, and sand down any rough patches so your parent does not hurt their hands.
Remove self-closing door apparatuses.
Self-closing doors can be tough for an older person to operate, since they need to hold the door open as they go through it. If your exterior doors are fitted with self-closing apparatuses, remove them. Usually, all you will have to do is unscrew the top self-closing apparatus and remove it from the door. The door will then swing freely on its hinges, allowing your parent to push it open, come inside, and then push it shut.
Deal with any uneven pavers or concrete.
It's far too easy for older people to stumble on the edge of a raised patio stone or fall when they encounter a raised section of concrete. If you have any paver stones that are uneven, take the time to dig them up, flatten the ground beneath them, and set them back into place. Uneven concrete is harder to deal with. Replacing it can be a big, expensive task. A good temporary fix is to set items like flower baskets and patio chairs over any portions of concrete that are pitted or dangerous. That way, your parent won't step on them.