Household Capital supports carers; releases Living Safely at Home Renovations and Care Checklist
January 28, 2021
Leading retirement funding and income specialist firm, Household Capital has released a Living Safely at Home Checklist, supporting carers as they assess their parents’ and older relatives’ need for renovations or modifications to their home, equipment and in-home care.
“Your home is both the best place to live and a great way to fund your retirement,” says Dr Joshua Funder, Chief Executive Officer of Household Capital. “Using a small proportion of available home equity allows elderly people to live in a home that they love, and love the life they live in it.”
Household Capital provides funding for the renovations, equipment or care that retirees may need to stay safely at home. “Our customer service team are retirement specialists and advocates. We provide finance with care, also helping to connect our customers with reputable service providers who can help and support them,” says Funder.
Living safely at home
Family members caring for retired parents are often overwhelmed. They know mum and dad want to stay in their own home but feel responsible for keeping them safe. The carers are usually adult children who are unfamiliar with the complexities of aged care needs, and have often moved away from home and so are dealing with the situation at a distance.
CareAbout is an expert advice service, helping those who require care to define the services that they need and matching them with local, reliable, quality care providers, within their budget. Kylie McGrath, CEO of CareAbout says, “It’s not uncommon for people to find it hard to admit that they’re no longer coping at home. This can be for many reasons whether it be cultural, generational, pride, fear about loss of independence, denial, impaired cognitive ability or a lack of self-awareness due to gradual health decline. Frequently it is up to adult children or family to recognise the signs that your loved one might need help with daily living tasks.”
Cathie Lindholm, GM Integrated Care and Functional Health of Leef, Australia’s leading retailer for independent living, has brought her lifelong passion and her extensive knowledge as an occupational therapist to curating a store packed with must have products for older Australians who choose to live at home. She says, “We know that older Australians want to be independent, and to stay in their own homes and we want to help them to do that safely. With the right elements in place, their home can be the safest place for them to be, for decades longer. At home people stay much more active than in aged care, they stay connected with friends and family and their communities. They entertain, they take care of their gardens, they keep living life.”
Household Capital Living Safely at Home Renovations and Care Checklist
Living at home is almost always possible with the right combination of renovations, equipment and care. Some retirees can live at home entirely independently, with a few clever modifications and additions to their homes, while others will need some in-home care support.
Household Capital’s easy seven point Living Safely at Home Renovations and Care Checklist guides you through ways to make mum and dad’s own home safe, and key things to look for to assess if care is needed. The seven points include; for renovations, the bathroom, the garden, bedtime and getting the job done and, for care, have a chat, how do they look and about the house.
Renovations and equipment
Is there easy access to the shower, with something to hold onto and a non slip mat? Add a shower seat for comfort and safety. The good news is that safe can be beautiful, check out clever solutions like the Avail custom bathroom rails or their toilet rail that doubles as a toilet roll holder and looks great.
Are the paths clear? Where there is a change in surface or a step down, is there a hand hold? Look at the surfaces and check them for slip risks like moss on the paths or old red brick pavers. Non slip paint is a great solution on slippery surfaces in outdoor areas.
The garden is an area where long term planning and budgeting are important. If the style of garden requires a great deal of maintenance that is now too too hard, it’s time to do the sums on the cost of paying for regular maintenance, versus doing a makeover to create an easy care garden. Most councils can also provide basic garden maintenance such as lawn mowing to retirees, it’s often free or provided at a very low cost to the homeowner.
Of course, it’s not just about dollars. Don’t forget to count the joy that the garden brings and the gentle exercise of doing the manageable gardening tasks. For green fingered types, weekly assistance may be worth it, while for others it’s time to put in a low maintenance alternative.
While you are looking at the garden, check the entrances to the building. Are there tricky, slippy steps or unwieldy doors? Consider non slip ramps, additional shallow steps and easy access options.
We spend so many hours in bed that it really is important to invest in one that is comfortable. People suffering from chronic pain will also experience poor quality sleep and that quickly becomes a negative cycle. Smart tech allows beds to adjust to individual needs at the touch of a button, will raise to allow the user to sit up easily and lower to make it easy to get out.
We don’t want mum and dad to be things that go bump in the night, so check how they move around and consider simple items like touch lamps or more advanced options like sensor lights that will guide them to and from the bathroom or kitchen.
Getting the job done
Once the key areas are safe, turn your attention to finding risks in your parents’ home activities.
Check how they are doing the shopping, where things are stored and how they hang out the laundry.
Shopping safely can be a great way to get regular gentle exercise and foster community engagement, but make it safe with a Sholley, a safe walker that provides maximum support and brilliantly doubles as a shopping trolley. Storage, particularly in the kitchen and laundry can be tricky when mobility is compromised, so look at the height and accessibility of cupboards, particularly checking for climbing risks but also considering the discomfort caused by reaching into low storage units.
When considering the laundry, also check the height of the machine doors and whether they are bending or reaching up; changing the height can massively increase ease and decrease injury risk. Also check how the laundry is making it out to the line; falls often occur when older people are carrying items.
“How do they carry things around the house? When you are carrying something heavy, whether it’s laundry or the woodpile, you can be off balance. Can they see their feet? When you can’t see your feet you are in danger. Make carrying safe by using the Sholley here too - it’s waterproof and multipurpose,” advises Lindholm.
In home care
Have a chat
Are mum and dad able to participate in a conversation and recall recent events? Are they able to hear well, follow conversations and recognise other family members? Do they interact equally well in an unfamiliar environment? If not, these could be signs that your loved one is dealing with cognitive difficulties that can be an indication of deteriorating health.
How do they look?
Can they get up easily from a seated position? Are they steady on their feet, or do they tend to hold onto furniture to help maintain balance? Is there any unexplained bruising or injury that might suggest a recent fall? Check out their appearance. Are they well groomed, and do you notice any significant weight loss or gain? Physical changes can indicate a loss of mobility and are also often clues to other health issues that may have gone undetected.
About the house
Is the home reasonably clean and tidy, or is there unusual clutter? Look for unopened mail, unattended paperwork or bills, and unwashed laundry. Look for misplaced items like cleaning supplies in the food pantry. Check the fridge for out of date food and check the dates on medicines and prescriptions. Any problems can be another sign of limited mobility, or it can indicate confusion, memory loss or impaired cognitive ability.
Kylie McGrath, CEO of CareAbout says, “It may be time to start the care conversation. This can be frightening and difficult for everyone, but reassure your loved one that you have their needs and preferences front of mind. With the right kind of care and support at home, you can make a real difference to the quality of your loved one’s life day to day.”
Applications for credit are subject to eligibility and lending criteria. Fees and charges are payable and terms and conditions apply (available on request). Household Capital Pty Limited is a credit representative (512757) of Mortgage Direct Pty Limited ACN 075 721 434. Australian Credit Licence 391876.