If your elderly grandparent is about to move in with you, you'll surely need to make the inside of your home safe and accessible. But the outside of your home is important, too. Things that may not seem like hazards to an agile young person like yourself could cause harm to your grandparent. To prevent accidents and injuries, here are some tasks to tackle before your loved one moves in.
Put up railings.
Even if there is only one or two steps to your front door, make sure there's a railing there. Your grandparent will need something to hold onto as he or she opens the door, or while you open the door for them. Ensure the railing has a thin enough rail that your grandparent will be able to grip it tightly, rather than just resting their hand on it. Wrought iron railings are often designed this way; wooden ones tend to be too wide.
You can purchase a railing kit at a local home improvement store and follow the instructions to install it. (Often, this involves screwing two "bases" into your stairs and then attaching the top rail.) Fencing companies also often offer railing installation services, and they're not as costly as you might imagine. Expect to pay between $25.89 and $42.15 per linear foot of railing.
Smooth out walking surfaces.
Take a look at any concrete walkways in your yard. Are they smooth and free of broken up, chipped areas? Purchase some pre-mixed concrete from a local home improvement store, and spend an afternoon pouring the concrete into areas where the original structure has broken down. All you'll need to do is pour the concrete into the gap and use a metal spreader to make it smooth.
If your grandparent will have to walk across the lawn for any reason, make sure there are no holes or bumps that they could trip on. Going over your lawn with a roller should smooth out most issues, though you may need to add some topsoil to larger holes.
Get rid of self-closing doors.
Self-closing exterior doors may be convenient for you since you can let them swing shut behind you. But for a grandparent who takes a bit longer to get out the door, they present a hazard because they could swing right into them and cause them to fall over. It's far easier for your grandparent to push the door open, get through it, and then push it closed again. Luckily, most self-closing doors can be made into freely swinging doors if you just unscrew the self-closing apparatus attached to the top of the door and the door frame.
You don't want the exterior of your home to present a risk to your grandparent. Fill in holes, put up a railing, and remove the self-closing devices from your exterior doors. Your grandparent will be safer, and you'll have peace of mind.