~ How Save Is Your Home For Seniors?

How Safe is Your Home for Seniors?

The last thing you want when your senior relative or friend visits your home is for anyone to get hurt. It may only take a glance around to spy some signs of potential danger but there are many more subtle clues you may not notice.
Determining how safe your home is for seniors often presents simple fixes. Senior visitors will not only feel more comfortable but will surely appreciate your efforts as well.
Let There Be Light
Some refer to it as ‘seniorizing’ and a well-lit home is number one on the list. This is essential for preventing falls in your home and is especially important around steps, particularly small ones going from one room to another.
If you don’t have good light in and around your home then very few places will be safe for seniors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that:
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
  • In 2013, 2.5 million nonfatal falls among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 734,000 of these patients were hospitalized.
  • Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas. These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
  • In 2011, about 22,900 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries.
Look for plug-in, battery powered, or wireless footlights to illuminate shadowy inside and outside pathways. Also, an excellent investment is motion-sensor technology. This eliminates the need for a senior to grope for a wall switch which could lead to an accident.
Any loose or weak railing throughout your home has catastrophe written all over it. Falls can be prevented when secure hand railing is within reach.
Secure or replace weak railing and look for areas where more can be installed. Many companies offer aesthetically pleasing wood designs as opposed to unsightly silver hospital type tubing.
The Most Dangerous Room
One room that needs special attention is the bathroom. For seniors this can be the most dangerous area in your home. Chance of injury here is high due to all the physical activities involved.
Sitting and standing while struggling with constricting clothes makes for balance challenges. The hospital type tubing rail is best for a bathroom especially in the shower. Also in the shower, tub grips should be used to reduce slippage.
A tub seat and/or a heightened toilet seat are very helpful if there are some physical conditions a senior may be struggling with.
The Other Most Dangerous Room
It is no surprise that the kitchen has so many hazards. When it comes to certain age related issues seniors may be experiencing, these hazards could get out of control.
For instance, if you have gas knobs on your stove you may want to consider covering them with childproof devices. This eliminates anyone that may not see well or is a little off on their balance from brushing into them and inadvertently turning on the gas. By the way, knobs you need to push in to operate are not foolproof to this scenario.
Peruse and Re-do
After taking care of the heavy hitters you’ll want to take a look around your home to determine some minor adjustments that could also be helpful. This is always best done by putting yourself in the body and mind of your closest senior.
Here are some concerns to consider:
A Path – If your furniture is too difficult to maneuver open up the room by either storing some pieces or rearranging them.
Skewers – Look for sharp corners that need to be covered.
Suction Furniture – If some chairs sink very low your senior will struggle just to get to their feet. Place a flat, sturdy couch pillow on the seat for support.
Broken Noses – Glass doors and floor to ceiling windows need a display, eye level decals, an embedded design or may want to be blocked so they don’t get walked into.
Throw the Throws – You might as well put a few banana peels on the floor if you’re going to have throw rugs down when a senior visits. These get easily bunched up causing trips and unless they are secured underneath, can sometimes slip out from under you.
Loose Cords – Now that every outlet has a phone or computer charger cord snaking out, make sure these and other electrical slithers stay out of tripping range.
Keeping your home safe for seniors offers peace of mind all around. Stay on top of these and other dangerous scenarios to reduce any potential accidents.
Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a freelance health writer, and continues to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals. @FelicityDryer ~ Helping You Help Your Aging Parents