As we grow older, we often face challenges with mobility. It can be difficult to get around, especially if you own home is not designed for use by seniors. If you or a loved one are having trouble getting around, please take a moment to review the safety tips below so you can stay safe:
Inspection: At least once a year, or more frequently if needed, conduct a safety inspection of the home. The first one is the most important to ensure you have identified areas of concern.
Protection from falling: As we grow older, the danger and likelihood of falling increases. The most common cause of death for those over 65 years old is injuries resulting from falling. Some safe practices should include avoiding throw rugs and not using ladders or stools. Unused furniture can be removed to avoid unnecessary obstacles. Also consider replacing or securing furniture that tips or moves if leaned on. Do not block walkways into or out of rooms. See to it that handrails are installed, by someone with experience or professionally, along every single set of stairs inside and outside of the house.
Lights and seeing: Another way of preventing falls, and generally improving a senior’s quality of life is lighting. Being able to see your living space clearly and easily is a valuable asset. Install motion-activated lights on the outside of the home, in all approaches. Automatic nightlights in every room used by the senior are needed. If they are not already, light switches for all rooms should be moved to the same place, easily accessible from the entrance to the room. Replace bulbs with 100 to 200-watt bulbs to create a brighter environment, but make certain the current lights and lamps can handle the increased wattage, else replace them with lights that can.
Bathrooms: Higher toilets are very helpful. You can also install safety hand rails in the shower and tub areas. Install grab handles in bathrooms. Place nonskid mats inside and outside your shower or tub and near the toilet and sinks. Use shower chairs and bath benches, if needed. Get into a tub or shower by putting the weaker leg in first. Get out of a tub or shower with your strong side first. Use a long-handled brush or mittens with straps to help with bathing.
Companionship and interaction: All seniors who live by themselves should make it a point to speak to someone, in person, each and every day. This can be a neighbor, other senior friends, family, even a caregiver. Contacting several neighbors of your senior and asking for them to check on them regularly can be a good idea on many levels.