Home Safety for the Elderly
Whether it is for yourself or an older relative that visits regularly or lives with you, here are some ideas for old-age proofing your home:
- Senior citizens are three times more likely to fall than younger people. Remove things from the floors over which they may trip. These include electric cables, loose rugs or ones that curl upwards, raised doorway thresholds, and so on. Stick rugs to the floor with calk or adhesive strips and arrange furniture so that electric outlets are available without the use of extension cords. Use non-skid floor wax.
- Install rails along the staircase, or make a bedroom and bathroom downstairs.
- The bathroom is a hazard area due to all the soap and water. Place non-skid mats inside and outside the bathtub and shower. Install one or preferably two grab bars in the shower and bath to hold onto while stepping in or out.
- Install good lighting around the house. Use frosted bulbs and shades to cut glare. Ensure that light switches are installed near doors so one does not have to walk through dark areas. Place a lamp with a switch next to the bed.
- Purchase a sturdy step stool with handrails to stand on when taking objects off high shelves. Seniors should never stand on normal furniture, and they tend to find the horizontal steps on step stools easier than the vertical ones on ladders. Avoid storing things on high shelves.
- Use large stoves and heaters that cannot be knocked over, but if you use a smaller one, place it outside high traffic areas in your house.
- Place as many telephones as possible around the house, especially in areas where one is likely to fall.
- Use large print to write emergency numbers near phones, to mark medications bottles and to write instructions for appliances.
- Install smoke alarms and burglar alarms with several panic buttons.
It is up to you to ensure that unnecessary age-related injuries do not ruin a comfortable productive retirement.