Weakening joints, poor eyesight, recovering from surgery, and many other factors put older adults at high risk for slips and falls. For families that want to keep older adults at home, it’s important to do everything possible to ensure their safety and security.
Improve Home Safety for Seniors
Whether your loved one is single or married, they may have accumulated many belongings over the years. Decluttering has many benefits, particularly if you plan to move your parent to an assisted living community. You can also reduce the number of items that accumulate on the floor where your parent can trip over them by decluttering.
If you or an older adult you love has a home with multiple stories, it’s essential to tighten handrails on the stairs. Older adults need more support than younger ones and may lean more heavily on the railing as they grow older or lose some of their mobility. It only takes a few minutes to tighten the handrails, but it will give you immeasurable peace of mind.
While throw rugs can add pizazz to any decor, removing rugs that can trip those using canes, walkers, or orthopedic shoes is important. Tacking down carpets and minimizing seams can reduce the risk of a trip and fall accident.
Check your home for any signs of danger. For example, if you have stairs, you may have to fix the following issues:
- Uneven steps
- Wobbly floorboards
- Lose carpet
- Clutter in the stairway
If no one in the family can handle DIY repairs, it might make sense to hire a professional to handle minor home improvements.
Changes to the Bathroom
You may also need to change or fix issues in the bathroom as part of your senior fall prevention project. What surface is, confined spaces, and throw rugs all present hazards for older adults with limited mobility and declining faculties.
Here are a few tips to make the bathroom safer for aging parents:
- Install grab bars-Grab bars in the shower or tub provide assistance to you or a loved one with balance problems. Towel bars aren’t designed to support your weight. Therefore, it’s essential to install robust grab bars to help your parents get in and out of the shower safely.
- Use a shower chair-Installing a chair that can permanently attach to a stable surface can help prevent falls. However, if you have a multigenerational household, purchasing a shower chair that you can take in and out of the shower might make more sense.
- Invest in a raised toilet seat-A toilet seat that adds up to 6 inches of lift makes it easier for older adults to sit or stand. These helpful accessories are an excellent senior fall prevention strategy. Adding arm supports to the toilet helps prevent uncomfortable motion as well as falls.
- Convert to a walk-in tub-If you currently have to step over the wall of the tub to take a shower, it may be time to convert to a walk-in tub or shower. Walk-in tubs allow bathers to comfortably sit wall bathing. Alternately, walk-in showers make it more convenient for everyone in the family to get in and out of the shower.
Install a Ramp
For older adults with mobility issues, an entrance ramp makes it easy to navigate a wheelchair, walker, or cane when leaving or returning home. You may even be able to find a local organization that performs the work at a discounted rate.
Hire Professional Services
Fatigue and exertion put older adults at risk for falls and injury. So, you may want to invest in professional services to handle snow removal, landscape maintenance, and other tasks too strenuous for older homeowners.
Similarly, it makes sense to invest in home healthcare services when your parents want to remain in the home but need assistance with the activities of daily living.