Fall Prevention - The Best Way to Make Home Safe
As seniors age, they may become increasingly concerned about the possibility of falling in their home. Unfortunately, one of the biggest consequences of aging is that a seniors body becomes weaker and the risk of injury becomes higher, even if they are in excellent health. Even though one may think their home is a safe place to live in, one would be surprised how many silent dangers there are in the home that could lead to serious injuries affecting mobility for the rest of one’s life. One of the biggest things a senior can do to make their home safer is damage control. By modifying one’s home, they can make it aging in place friendly, and the home can be a safe place for a senior to thrive in.
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What Is Aging In Place?
Aging in place is a concept and a practice that centers around seniors staying in their own homes as long as possible, instead of moving to an assisted living facility. Many seniors feel reluctant to relinquish their freedom and move into an assisted living facility for a variety of reasons. Assisted living can be costly, and some may not want or need the level of care many facilities and retirement homes offer. For seniors who wish to stay in their own home as they age, it is wise to make modifications to the home to make it a safer place in one’s older age. Aging in place isn’t limited to the inside of home either, adjustments can be made to the front and backyard, and even the garage to ensure maximum safety.
Top Fall Prevention Items To Make Each Room Safer
Stairways - Big Hazard...But It Can Be Made Safer!
When it comes to home that has stairs, it is essential that precautions are taken to make them safer to get up and down. If you are trying to make your home safer and your home has stairs, make sure the handrails on all stairways are secured tightly to the wall or to the stairs. Ideally, either side of the stairway should have handrails. If one side of the staircase is against a wall and doesn’t have handrails, adjustments can be made and handrails can be mounted onto the walls for added safety.
Take a look at your staircase and see if it has a loose rug covering it, loose rugs on stairways can become falling hazard. If possible, consider removing the rug from your stairs, especially if it is not adequately secured to each stair.
An Important Note On Aging In Place and Staircases
If you live in a two story home and you have chosen to age in place, consider evaluating your level of mobility, the size of your home, then ask, “how often, right now, do I need to be upstairs?” If the answer is not that often, then, if you have the space, keep all of your essentials downstairs. By moving most of your possessions downstairs, you avoid making trips up and down the stairs and reduce the risk of potential falls.
Floors and Rugs...Secure them to the ground!
Having floors and rugs in the home can make a home look great, but when they aren’t secured to the ground, they become a tripping hazard, even for non-seniors. Instead of sacrificing your family heirloom rug to your attic, a small investment can make your rugs much more senior friendly. Rug grippers attach to the corners of your rug and prevent the rug from curling and sliding around.
Bathrooms...Make Them Slip Free!
The bathroom is one of the trickiest areas to age make aging in place friendly. First and foremost, make sure you can safely get in and out of the shower or the tub. If you are unable to, look into purchasing step stools or support bars to help you.
Sticky mats are also great products for any bathroom. Secure the mat to the floor of your bath or shower to make the surface less slippery.
Grab bars are another essential for the bathroom. Grab bars can be placed on the walls of the shower or bath and help support seniors getting in and out of the tub. Many grab bars can support up to 500 lbs and can be easily mounted to the wall.
As seniors age, some may may become frustrated completing daily tasks. These days, beds can be high from the ground, making it difficult for seniors to comfortably get in and out of bed. Buying bed rails for your bed is a great purchase to make, especially since bed rails can help reduce the risk of falls in the bedroom. One product that combines a step stool to help seniors get into bed, and bed rails is the step2bed. The step2bed also includes a motion activated light, so seniors can get in and out of bed at anytime - even at night.
Make sure all of the items you use most often are easily accessible. Try to avoid putting those items in places too high or too low. If you need to put some items on a higher shelf, consider investing in a step stool with grab bars for support to access those items. Alternatively, you can use a personal grabber to reach items that may be high up.
Lighting is essential to aging in place! Simply adding nightlights around your home can make it significantly more comfortable to navigate your house at night without turning on any main lights. Plug in night lights in hallways and at the top and bottom of the staircase if applicable. Lots of nightlights are equipped with timers so they will turn off during the daytime when you do not need them.
In addition to adding nightlights to your hallways, It is important to make sure that all hallways are not obstructed by objects, that can become a tripping hazard.
As you age in place, you can still enjoy your backyard by making some simple modifications to make it safer.
On the outside of your home, make sure there are no holes in your yard, if there are, fill them up with soil.
If you live in a snowy area, hire someone to shovel snow from your driveway if it snows in your area. If needed, add a ramp to get up your patio stairs.
If you have a lot of stairs in your backyard or front yard, assess your mobility and install a ramp to get up and down the stairs if you have trouble using the stairs.
Lighting is equally as important in your backyard as it is in the inside of your home, if you plan on being outside at night, install lights in your backyard.
If you are still concerned about aging in place, you can always consult your doctor. Aging in place doesn’t happen all at once and can initially be an intimidating transition. Aging in place can be frustrating, but we encourage you stick with it. By modifying your home, you make it a safer place for you to age and reduce the risk of falls. Some of these adjustments may feel strange or unnatural at first, but with a little bit of persistence, these tips can become part of your daily routine.