How to Keep Your Home Safe for an Aging Relative
Part of senior care is ensuring that your home is well-suited to accommodate your loved one’s changing needs. As our loved ones age, the need for a safe home becomes more apparent. It’s a common misconception that a home safety evaluation will result in your home resembling a hospital, but there are small changes that can be implemented at your home that do not throw off the aesthetic while promoting greater safety for your aging loved one.
Seniors and Falls – Managing the Risk at Home
Falls become a higher risk as a senior ages, causing millions of injuries and fatalities annually across the United States. However, it is possible to limit the chance of a fall in your home by pursuing a home safety evaluation. A home safety evaluation is conducted by a professional caregiving expert who knows how to identify dangers that may seem innocent in the eyes of someone who has never handled the care of an elderly relative before. They will identify issues within the home, such as loose wiring, carpets, accessibility, and beyond, to help you identify and address the areas that need improvement.
Affordable Safety Enhancements
There are many affordable and easy ways to enhance the safety of your home. Each room in the average home poses its own set of risks. The best way to improve the safety of your home is to go room by room with a checklist to observe the areas that traditionally cause accidents for seniors. Before pursuing a home safety evaluation, you may make some minor changes on your own. We can help you simplify that process.
Pets and Fall Risks
No matter how well-trained your pet is, it may unintentionally trip a senior. While you don’t need to get rid of the pet, creating a secure area designated for your pet, away from your loved one is always a smart idea. For example, you may block off your kitchen, so your aging relative can easily get to the fridge or close your hallway to the bathroom to allow for a simple walk free of any obstacles when your loved one needs to go.
Floor concerns are a major focal point when identifying fall risks in your home. In areas where the floor changes from carpet to wood, we recommend placing orange tape to alert your aging loved one to avoid slips or falls. Rugs can be dangerous, especially if they are not securely fastened to the ground. Crossing them may also be challenging if your loved one uses a walker or other mobility equipment. We recommend removing any throw rugs to avoid accidents.
Accessibility in Your Kitchen
Some homes store their plates up high or their cookware down in a lower cabinet. While this may work for you, it can be challenging for a senior who struggles with mobility. We recommend placing everyday items in easy-to-reach places or on the countertops to avoid your loved one having to climb or maneuver in unnatural ways to reach things. This small modification makes your home safer and more accessible to your loved one, granting them more freedom and dignity.
Adjusting Your Bathroom
The bathroom is home to an array of potential hazards and should be one of the first areas of concern when modifying your home to meet the needs of your loved one. Bathing is non-negotiable; therefore, the shower must be equipped with non-slip strips and grab bars when possible to avoid the risk of falling due to slippery surfaces.
You may also replace your toilet to make it more accommodating for your aging relative. A standard, low toilet bowl may be challenging to sit on without pain or difficulty that can result in an accident. Adding a high-profile or raised toilet can be an excellent and affordable adjustment for your bathroom. Additionally, you may add rubber-backed bathmats to make the floor more senior-friendly.
Loose wires may not seem like anything more than an eyesore, but they can be very dangerous to a senior. Electrical cords that are not properly secured pose a higher fall risk and electrical hazards. It’s important to properly secure cords to the walls and place them behind larger furniture pieces to avoid exposure that can heighten the risk of a fall or injury.
With age comes a decline in vision. Whether your loved one has cataracts or other visual impairments, additional lighting can be beneficial to avoid accidents. To mitigate the risk of an accident due to impaired vision, increase ambient lighting in your home and replace ceiling lights with brighter bulbs to illuminate rooms.
Motion sensor lighting can also be a convenient and energy-efficient addition. It allows hallways and stairwells to be lit up when your loved one is using that space without having to find a light switch. Additionally, night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms can be beneficial.
If your home is filled with decorations, boxes, or other objects that take up walking space, addressing the clutter is important to promote safety for your loved one. While a box near the hallway may not seem like a significant concern, this box may be the source of an accident for a senior with mobility or visual impairment issues. It’s important to tidy up your space and create clear, wide walkways for your loved one to move around without risk.
Additional Home Modifications
To take your home’s safety features to the next level, several key components may be advantageous to consider. Accessibility features, such as ramps, chairlifts, or wider doorways throughout your home can assist your loved one with getting around the home safely.
There are also a number of emergency response systems you can add to your home, as well as smart-home devices including cameras or voice-assist features that can grant your loved one access to immediate help in an emergency.
No-Obligation Home Safety Evaluations
If your loved one recently experienced a fall, or if you’d like to mitigate the risk of a fall for your loved one, the senior care specialists at Placita In Home Care offer no-obligation home safety evaluations. Our experts will do a comprehensive walkthrough of your home to identify potential hazards and provide recommendations and a complimentary in-home care plan. This resource is an excellent way to get ahead of accidents and create a safer and more peaceful environment for you and your family.
Transform Your Home’s Safety Today
When the time comes to work on your home’s safety and to improve your loved one’s living environment, the senior care professionals at Placita In Home Care are here to facilitate the process with an array of compassionate services. Contact our friendly experts today to learn more about how you can improve the safety of your home.