For most seniors, aging in place can make getting older much more pleasant. They can maintain their independence and enjoy the familiarity and comfort of their own homes. However, a few modifications may be necessary to prevent falls and other safety issues. If you have a senior loved one who is determined to live at home as he or she ages, there are some things you can do to make sure the house is as safe as possible.
1. Clear the Pathways
One of the most important things you can do for your loved one is make a clear path in each room of the house. This may include removing clutter from the floors and rearranging the furniture to create wider walkways. The straighter and clearer the path, the easier it is to get from room to room. Being able to navigate the house safely is especially important for seniors with mobility issues who use canes or walkers to get around.
Mobility challenges can make it difficult for aging adults to handle everyday tasks without help. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Rhode Island Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
2. Add Lighting
The pathways in the house should also be well lit. Consider adding lighting in dark hallways, on stairs, and in rooms that don’t get much natural light during the day. The path from your loved one’s bedroom to the bathroom should have plenty of lighting to make late-night trips easier to navigate. Consider adding lamps or smart lighting to bedside tables as well as next to recliners and other places where your loved one spends a lot of time. This way, he or she can turn lights on and off without having to get up and walk through a dark room.
3. Check for Loose Rugs & Mats
Carpets, mats, and rugs are some of the top tripping hazards in any home. Survey your loved one’s home to see if any are frayed or loose around the edges. Consider replacing them with something in better shape or removing them completely. If removing the rugs isn’t an option, make sure the edges are tacked to the floor in some manner to prevent the sides and corners from posing a danger.
4. Make Sure Smoke Detectors Are Working
Seniors have an increased risk of dying in fires compared to other age groups. For this reason, working smoke detectors are especially important in their homes. Test the alarms in your loved one’s home regularly, and change the batteries as needed. Make sure there are enough detectors in the house to cover all rooms.
Professional caregivers can help seniors stay safe. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
5. Add Bars & Handles to the Bathroom
While a nonslip mat can prevent your loved one from falling in the bathroom, a few carefully placed handles and bars can add even more safety. Place them near the toilet, shower, and bathtub to help your loved one get in and out or up and down without falling. Grab bars are fairly inexpensive and easy to install.
6. Look for Loose Cords
Electrical cords can easily become a tripping hazard for seniors. Take the proper steps to secure cords to walls, place them behind furniture, or remove them if they’re for items that are no longer in use. While you’re at it, look for frayed or broken cords, as they may eventually become a fire hazard.
7. Make Sure Everything Is at the Right Height
You never want your loved one to have to climb up high to reach something in the kitchen. Consider rearranging cabinets, shelves, and pantries so food and utensils are at eye level or lower. This also extends to the bedroom and bathroom. Make sure your loved one’s bed isn’t so high that he or she can’t get into it but not so low that he or she can’t get up in the morning. You’ll also want to make sure your loved one can get into the shower or bathtub without any height obstacles.
Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Rhode Island homecare services agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. Call us at (401) 284-0979 to create a customized in-home care plan.