Taking care of your loved ones as they get older can be an overwhelming responsibility. It’s impossible to ensure the safety of another human being at all times, yet you try to make it work. Plus, the uncertainty that comes with every decision can’t help either. When it comes to making a house safer for your aging loved ones, there are many aspects to cover, and this list will help ensure that you don’t miss a thing.
Here’s what you need to know to keep any potential accidents at bay.
Reduce Fall Risk
One of the main causes of senior accidents and injuries is falling. While you may not notice or mind the clutter around your house, you’d be surprised at how much some things can affect your loved ones. For starters, extension cords and loose wires don’t mix well with seniors, whether they are able to walk or are using wheelchairs. Rugs are also a tripping hazard, especially if they’re so old that their corners are starting to bend upwards. Tight corners and cramped areas may also pose a problem, so make sure there’s always space for free movement. Keep in mind that, while rushing around the house is not recommended for the elderly, you can ensure that it won’t happen. So, make sure you walk around the house and remove anything that might be a potential hazard.
Check on the Electric Appliances
Unfortunately, appliance malfunctions can happen at any time, and they can also be quite dangerous. To avoid electric fires, shocks, and other potential dangers, closely examine all the appliances in the house. Repair anything that isn’t functioning properly, and replace the ones that have recently been regularly malfunctioning. Make sure you cover up any exposed wires, too. While you’re on the task, if you can replace some devices with ones that switch off automatically, you’d be doing them a huge favor. After all, anyone can leave the kettle on for long after making their drink, and the likeliness of that happening increases as you grow old with age.
Improve Bathroom Safety
Bathrooms are another danger zone for the elderly due to multiple reasons. When trying to make the house a safer place for them, make sure you take care of the bathroom first. First off, keep your thermostat only a few degrees under 120°F ( 48°C) to avoid accidental burns. It’s also important that you install bathroom grab bars to provide your elderly with stability and support. That way, you’d be eliminating any chances of your loved ones slipping in the shower or on their way in or out of the tub. Other options worth considering are bathing chairs, walk-in showers, and handlebars near toilets. In addition to rubber mats and grab bars, these can potentially save their lives and make their trips to the bathroom much easier.
Install Motion-Activated Lighting
If it’s already hard for you to walk and your vision is not that great, then the nightly walk to the light switch every time you want to go to the bathroom will be quite the dangerous journey. A good idea is to install a motion-activated light or even a bunch of them, especially in the bathroom. As the name suggests, the lights activate when they sense any motion which guarantees a safe walk in and out of any room without fearing an invisible obstacle. It’s a particularly great idea for anyone who gets up a lot in the middle of the night.
Store Everything Within Reach
If you’re aiming to prevent any potential accidents, you need to know and eliminate the conditions that might contribute to any. One common type of accident, be it a fall or a head injury, takes place when a senior attempts to reach something that’s far from their grasp. The object itself could end up falling on them, or they could lose their balance in the process. To prevent such a thing from happening, keep everything within arm’s reach so that they wouldn’t have to put extra effort and endanger themselves. In other words, opt for low cabinets and drawers instead of hanging cabinets and cupboards.
As you go around your loved ones’ house taking notes of everything that needs to be changed, make sure you take their needs into account. Since you’re trying to make their life easier, make sure the changes you’re making are based on needs and preferences. Take their opinions on what they think should be changed, what they find harder to do, and what would make their life easier. You might not want to bother them or make them feel helpless, but trust that taking their input will help both you and them.