Many senior citizens value their independence and want to age-in-place. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), most injury-related deaths among the elderly are caused by falls. Caretakers and loved ones need to assess what should be done to make a home safe for seniors. The following adjustments can make a difference in improving senior independence, safety, and quality of life.
Eliminate Fall Hazards to Make the Home Safe for Seniors
Falls are common among the elderly and are the leading cause of their injuries. As people age, their strength and vision diminish. Reduce fall risks by cleaning up piled clutter, removing throw rugs, and discarding or donating bulky, unneeded furniture. Also, you can improve safety by rearranging the furniture and repairing cracks in sidewalks. Make sure there aren’t electrical cords laying across pathways.
Improve the Lighting
Many seniors sustain injuries that are due to poor lighting. To make a home safe for seniors, install adequate lighting, particularly in high-risk areas like stairways. Replace any burnt-out or low wattage bulbs and install motion-detection lighting outside.
Many falls happen in bathrooms. It is the riskiest place in a senior’s home, especially when safety modifications are not in place. To increase safety, install safety rails in the shower and next to the toilet. Also, use rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping.
Customize the shower by setting the water heater at lower than 120° F to prevent burns. Also, install a hand-held showerhead. You can replace the regular bathtub with a walk-in model.
Use a nightlight in the bathroom, especially for seniors who make repeated trips overnight. Consider replacing the regular toilet seat with a raised toilet.
Protect the Home Against Fire
To make a home safe for seniors, eliminate fire hazards within the house. For instance, remove candles from the home since they can start fires if left unattended. They can be replaced with battery-powered models.
Assess the electrical cords of the lamps and appliances. Replace damaged cords and limit the number of cords in the socket to prevent overloading. Avoid the use of space heaters. If they must be used, keep them three feet away from furniture and curtains. They should be turned off before leaving the house.
Set reminders for your elderly loved ones to test the smoke alarms once per month, or do it yourself.
Medical Alert Systems Make a Home Safe for Seniors
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart diseases are the leading cause of death in people over 65 years. Medical alert systems are essential life-saving tools that help seniors during vulnerable moments. These devices send signals to caregivers when sudden illnesses, accidents, and emergencies occur. Moreover, they offer a sense of confidence and independence for many seniors.
Make Sure the Bedroom is Safe
Increase home safety and comfort in the bedroom by replacing an older mattress with a firm one. Install grab bars next to the bed. In some cases, a raised bedframe may be beneficial. Replace the regular doorknob and install a single-lever since it’s easier to use.
Help your elderly loved one by taking these measures to make the home safe. Perhaps you are planning to age-in-place and want to get started on making your own home safer. Either way, these tips can reduce the risk of accidents and provide peace of mind.