Senior Proof Your Home

Older_couple There may come a time when your parent or elder loved one can no longer live independently. Although there are many assisted living facilities available for seniors, you may decide to take on the responsibility of caring for an elder loved one yourself; however, your home may not be properly suited to his or her particular safety requirements. Before he or she moves in, follow a few simple and affordable steps to “senior proof” your home and prevent accidents from happening.

Remove tripping hazards

Stray electrical cords, rugs that don’t lie flat and low furniture are common causes of falls. Arrange your furniture in a way that provides plenty of room to walk freely and remove tripping hazards from stairs, hallways and pathways.

Prevent slips

Make sure your floors are never slippery. In puddle-prone areas like the bathroom use non-slip floor mats and install “grab bars” in bath tubs and showers. Follow the instructions carefully when installing grab bars, as most have to be attached to wall studs to be effective.

During the winter, spread sand or salt on slick sidewalks, curbs or icy stairs to prevent slips. Also keep floor mats by entryways to prevent puddles from forming on rainy or snowy days.

Don’t place items in hard to reach places

Climbing to get items in high places is another common cause of falls. Store food, dishes, clothing and other everyday items your loved one will need within reach so he or she doesn’t need a stool.

Anything stored in low cabinets should also be moved so your elder loved one doesn’t strain his or her body from bending over.

Install additional lighting

A home with dark shadows and gloomy hallways can become a safety hazard for those with impaired eyesight. Install extra lighting at entrances and on walkways and stairways to decrease the risk of falls.

Also place lamps within easy reach of your elder loved one’s bed and illuminate the path from his or her bedroom to the bathroom with nightlights. Consider motion-activated nightlights that will turn on when he or she moves.