Aging is a natural process, and you’ll be caring for an elderly family member at some point. As the number of elderly individuals living independently increases, it’s crucial to ensure safety at home. Some of the potential dangers the elderly face include burns, falls, and slips. With these potential risks, it’s crucial to take safety precautions to allow them to live independently and safely.
As your family members start to age, it’s essential to make the necessary changes around the house to keep them safe at all times. Here are some of the ways to create a safe home for seniors.
1. Improve The Flooring
Among the elderly, the likelihood of falls is high and capable of causing injuries. Older individuals with balance issues might be prone to trips or falls if your home has a hardwood floor, high-pile carpet, or tiles. If your priority is ensuring a safe environment for an elderly family member, consider improving high-risk flooring. The best approach to prevent slips, trips, and falls is replacing the current flooring with low pile carpet. You should also take time to review the slip rating of tile, hardwood, or laminate flooring to keep high-traffic areas safe for elderly family members.
2. Eliminate Potential Fall Hazards
When changing the current flooring of your home is not practical at the moment, you should prioritize the removal of potential fall hazards to ensure a safety home for seniors by doing the following:
- Get rid of throw rugs. Although these are decorative elements in a home, some often lack a rubberized backing to ensure better grip on the floor.
- Provide an open environment. When an elderly family member uses a walker, the doorways must have enough space for easy access.
- Clean up clutter. Keep your home clutter-free by getting rid of shoes, newspapers, and other items on the floor.
- Conceal any wiring. Make sure to avoid stretching any electrical wiring or extension cords across the floor.
- Provide elderly family members with non-slip footwear.
Always remember to keep your home free of clutter, wiring, and other potential hazards when you have elderly family members around to minimize slips or falls.
3. Keep The Bathroom Safe
The bathroom can be a risky room for the elderly due to the high risk for slips, falls, or scalds. If you want to keep your family member safe in the bathroom, you should consider the following:
- Place rubber mats in the floor and bathtub to prevent slips or falls.
- Install bars and handrails in the shower area and beside the toilet.
- Add a shower chair or bench to minimize slips and allow an elderly family member to shower independently or with minimal assistance. Most benches or chairs can fit inside the shower or bathtub.
- Consider replacing the original bathtub with a walk-in model if you have the budget for an improvement project.
- Install a hand-held showerhead. It’s a handy upgrade that’s easier to use by older family members, especially when cleaning hard-to-reach body parts.
- Add a nightlight in the bathroom. Installing one will benefit elderly family members who make frequent trips to the bathroom at night.
4. Ensure Safety When Using The Stairs
When using the stairs is inevitable, make the necessary improvements by adding extra grip to avoid slips or falls. If you have non-carpeted stairs, you can add grip tape or place non-slip tread mats. It’s best to do this on all staircases indoors and outside the house. When a senior has difficulty moving up and down the stairs, you can consider a stair-assist chair or chair climber.
5. Assess The Safety Level In The Bedroom
The bedroom also has its share of potential hazards. Elderly family members might encounter several threats you need to deal with right away. Some of the measures to maintain a safe bedroom include the following:
- Replace the mattress with a comfortable one with better support, especially if the current one is already sagging.
- Install a telescoping grab bar so elderly family members can use it as support when getting in or out of bed.
6. Provide Better Lighting
As part of the aging process, elderly family members will have poor vision, so you need to implement several measures to keep them safe around the house.
- Install new light fixtures to improve the lighting.
- If there are any burnt-out light bulbs, make sure to replace them right away.
- Consider installing motion detection lighting both inside and outdoors for visibility when moving around the house.
- Always test the lights to see if they can provide adequate lighting across the room.
Better visibility in your home will significantly help in minimizing the risk of seniors for slips or falls.
The safety of your elderly family members in your home should be your priority. Make the necessary improvements and implement safety measures to allow them to function independently with safety in mind. With the help of these simple upgrades and improvements around your home, it can effectively increase the protection for your elderly family members.