7 House Proofing Tips for Seniors
Here are seven simple home safety improvements that could help protect your elderly loved ones from accidental injuries:
Ensure that all stairs and pathways are clear- It may seem obvious, but as we get older we lose our balance a lot easier, and everything from a table to a toy can cause an injury. Electrical cords, rugs and furniture are the most tripped over objects and oftentimes get overlooked. Do your best to arrange your furniture so that it’s out of the way of the main line of sight, and so it doesn’t stick out where it doesn’t need to be.
Think about hazards and prevent something from happening before it can. For example, if you need a rug to cover slippery flooring, heavy duty tape can help keep the rug from moving when your loved one tries to walk over it.
Install handrails in the bathroom- So you’re providing emotional stability for your loved one but what about physical stability? Installing handrails in the bathrooms not only help them stay independent, but also gives you one less thing to worry about! You’ll be able to read the appreciation all over their face when they see they can still do the necessities they’ve always done on their own.
Utilize medical alert systems- Now, this one is always a source of worry. The lingering questions in your head while you’re at work; What if she/he fell? What if they can’t reach a phone? We understand this can be scary but there are solutions.
Medical alert systems provide you with a peace of mind. With just a push of a button, emergency services will be alerted and you’ll know about it immediately!
Cover corners on the furniture- Sharp corners and glass furniture are dangerous for everyone, no matter their age. By replacing the pieces or cushioning the sharp corners, you’re giving yourself one less thing to worry about! Here’s a great tip for finding the right alternatives: take a peek at the baby isles at your local store.
Prepare for hazardous weather conditions- Especially if you live in colder regions, snow and ice are high threats to the elderly. If your loved one has to travel outside of the home, shoveling and using salt on the walking path will help prevent slipping. It is also important to let your loved ones know to be extra cautious when going outside in different weather conditions so that they know to stay prepared.
Confirm that fire alarms are installed correctly- Whether you have an elderly person living with you or not, making sure your fire alarms work properly is vital. Most units have a testing button in order to make sure the battery is working and the alarm sounds. And to give yourself even more of a peace of mind, practice a fire escape route with your loved ones so that they are prepared in case of emergencies.
Make sure that there is plenty of lighting, especially outside- In the unfortunate case of an emergency, make sure the house number and the front door is lit for first responders. Inside the home, make sure to place extra lighting in places like closets, bathrooms, kitchen, and hallways. Experiment with different types of light bulbs to see which ones help your loved one the most. Certain light bulbs may react differently to the eyes than others, but you should find one that does not cause a glare or too many shadows.
Small changes like the ones above can greatly help in providing safety to your elderly loved ones, and they’ll help you sleep at night! Just remember that accidents can happen, but your chances at preventing them are much better if you stay proactive.