Nearly 90 percent of America’s senior citizens want to age in place. It is easy to understand why such a high percentage of seniors want to live out their years inside their home, where they have likely made millions of memories with family and friends. However, according to The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, an average of 1.4 million seniors aged 65 or older are treated in the hospital every year due to injury at their homes.
In order to age in place safely, modifications around your home should be implemented to help ensure your safety. You could potentially have an accident in any room, such as your living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. If you aren’t so sure where to start, here is a home safety checklist for seniors.
Living room safety
An estimated 36 million senior citizens fall every year, and 32,000 of those falls were fatal. With these statistics, you want to ensure you have plenty of open space in your living room, and your furniture is arranged in a way that gives you plenty of room to navigate through. If you have loose rugs in your living room, tape them down with double-sided tape to help you avoid tripping or your walker getting caught, resulting in a fall. The furniture in your living room should also be sturdy and stable in case you were to ever lean against it.
It’s essential to keep your kitchen clean, tidy and have everything easily accessible to you. It would be best to store all pots, pans, plates, utensils in places that are easy to reach. If you have high cabinets, you should invest in a stable stepping stool with handrails for help. There are more than 300,000 fires that happen every year, which is why you want to ensure you do not leave any loose towels, plastics, potholders, or curtains near the kitchen stove. You should always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of a fire, and your smoke alarm batteries should be up-to-date and charged.
Before you go to bed every night, walk through your kitchen to double-check your stove and oven are turned off, and everything is cleaned up off the floor. Doing this can help ease your mind about a possible kitchen fire, and if you were to visit the kitchen in the middle of the night, you would not trip or slip on anything.
The bathroom has been cited to be the most dangerous room in the house for senior citizens. Seniors tend to fall the most while in the bathroom due to floors being wet and slippery from the shower. A way to lower the risk of falling in the bathroom is by installing grab bars near the toilet and inside the shower or bathtub. Grab bars are a simple way of providing you with balance and lower the risk of an accident occurring. A slip-resistant bathmat and a shower chair will also help prevent falls while showering. Shower chairs allow you to shower independently and comfortably without the fear of falling. You can purchase a shower chair from Amazon, Walmart, or a durable medical equipment supplier.
Cluttered space increases the risk of accidents and can cause anxiety. Make sure your bedroom does not have any unnecessary furniture or large items in your walkway. Loose cords are also very hazardous, so make sure any electrical cord is bundled near the wall and away from your footpath. The comfortability of your bed height is vitally important, as many seniors struggle with getting in and out of bed. If this applies to you, you should consider investing in a step stool for your bed if your bed is too high, as well as a grab bar to ensure you have stability while coming in and out of bed.
Many seniors want to live out their years inside their homes. Although many seniors have this capability, some changes may need to be made around the house to ensure you can do so safely. If you are aging in place, implement this home safety checklist today and enjoy living out the rest of your retirement at home.