If you have an elderly loved one who lives alone, you may be concerned about safety as they navigate the house by their lonesome. While seniors are more prone to falls due to declining strength and balance, rest assured that there are many ways you can help them stay safe at home.
Helping your senior stay safe while aging in place can be excellent for maintaining morale and independence. Mobility aids and other tech tools are perfect for helping you reach a compromise between freedom and health. For example, equipping your elderly loved one with aids can provide stability and reduce falls. Specially designed walkers give their users stability without forcing them to hunch over and worsen existing back problems.
That said, one of your best defenses against household hazards is knowledge. Here are seven household features that could be putting your elderly loved ones at risk.
Going up and downstairs is challenging for elderly persons who lack strength and balance. If the stairs are narrow, you can have a home improvement professional widen them. You should also ensure there is a sturdy railing to hold onto as people ascend and descend. If your loved one struggles with climbing, a chair lift might be the right choice for their home.
Showers and bathtubs
Climbing in and out of a shower or bathtub with a high ledge can be tricky for older adults. Unfortunately, many elderly individuals experience falls while bathing. To avoid this risk, install a walk-in shower and add a shower seat for maximum comfort. You can also add an anti-slip mat to the shower floor and attach grab bars to the walls where possible.
Carpets and flooring
Loose carpets and uneven flooring can cause trips and falls. To senior-proof a house, you should fix cracks, loose floorboards, insecure carpets, and similar issues. It’s best to do away with small throw rugs altogether. Alternatively, use rubber anti-slip underlays to keep rugs from slipping as people travel over them.
Electrical cords are another common cause of trips and falls. Keep cords secured against the walls using tape or a slip. Extension cords and surge protectors can also help by keeping all of your trip-happy wires in one place.
Rising off the toilet can be challenging for seniors with diminished leg muscles. To make it easier, install a high-seat toilet that requires less leg muscle to rise from. Adding grab bars on either side of the bathroom also adds stability and ensures greater comfort.
Eyesight tends to decline with age. To ensure your loved one can see clearly, install ample lighting throughout the home. For example, adding more lights in hallways can avoid trips over unseen items. Night lights are also great for making night-time bathroom breaks safer and more accessible.
Clutter lying around on the floor is a significant tripping hazard for mobility-impaired adults. Make sure your senior loved one has a clean home that’s free of debris. If your loved ones struggle to clean the house by themselves, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Having someone come by every week can be a game-changer when it comes to keeping your seniors at home for longer.
The final word
Making a home senior-safe will take some effort and financial investment. However, the peace of mind it will bring you and your loved one is well worth the time and cost. Knowing that your elderly parent or grandparent is in a safe space where they can enjoy easy mobility is priceless.