6 Home Improvements to Maximize Senior’s Safety
Each year, a greater portion of the population are seniors, staying either at home or in a caregiving facility. 6 out of 10 of them fall in a bid to navigate their way through the house and this has been majorly attributed to a decline in cognitive skills. “Falling” is one major threat that can happen in a place where seniors are supposed to get maximum comfort. Most of them are less likely to handle such accidents due to their fragile status, especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s. You must know that a fall that might cause slight discomfort for an average age could be catastrophic for seniors.
According to research, falls are a major health threat that kills more seniors than heart disease and cancer. So, if you have an elderly relative, you should be very concerned about their health and safety, and you must ensure that the possibilities of them falling are minimized. Aside from falls, other dangers in the house could jeopardize a senior’s life and health. Fires, for example, can be a severe threat to them or other unforeseen natural disasters. On the note, the best step to take is prevention.
To keep seniors safe from the hazards and risks, we need to make sure that the homes where they stay are adequately improved. This implies that residences should be well equipped to meet the demands of the elderly. That is not a simple or inexpensive task, but it is essential for your loved ones.
Consider the following home improvements for fall prevention and easy mobility to make life as easy as possible for your seniors.
1. Create a Clutter-Free Environment
With or without a caregiver, seniors can better care for themselves when their homes are clear of clutter. Many elderly people place a premium on their independence and mobility. To stay independent, some seniors require assistance with a few daily tasks. At all times, specific locations must be clutter-free to aid your senior mobility. These locations include hallways, corridors, walkways, bathrooms, and stairwells. It is essential to install ceiling lighting and lamps; senior folks benefit from bright and clutter-free rooms.
To ensure a safe and clutter-free environment, make sure to:
- Tangle up all electric cords and wire to the wall to avoid
- Get rid of extra furniture and items that are not needed anymore
- Place the biggest furniture close to the wall, away from walking paths
- Create a simple storage system with quick access to daily-used items.
- Make every flat surface as clear as possible.
2. Make Things Easier To See
Vision decline is common in the aging process, but it still can have a substantial influence on a senior’s functional abilities and quality of life. Impaired vision can lead to despair, seclusion, and inactivity in certain people. Furthermore, decreasing vision skills can be a hazard for seniors, who are more at risk to fall and injure themselves around the house.
The caregiver needs to learn as much about their care recipients’ visual condition and limits. This knowledge will enable them to make suitable changes to their environment.
While eyesight can be impacted in different ways, the following suggestions are a great place to start when assisting seniors in maintaining their independence securely:
- Make sure to have good lighting, especially in dangerous places like staircases and hallways.
- Keep light switches easily accessible, at strategic places.
- Improve the organization of your home, making it as simple and straightforward as possible.
- Use contrasting colors to make certain things and areas more evident.
- Keep a flashlight near the senior’s bed in case of emergency
3. Ensure that the bathroom is secure
The bathroom is often the most dangerous place in a senior’s house, as falls and injuries are common occurrences in this space. Here are some tips to ensure the safety of your senior’s privacy:
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower.
- To avoid unintentional burns, set the water heater’s thermostat to no more than 120° F.
- In the bathtub, place rubber mats to prevent slipping.
- Instead of replacing the original bathtub, consider installing a walk-in shower.
- Install a showerhead with a hand-held wand. These are more convenient to use, especially when cleaning difficult-to-reach areas.
- Install an elevated toilet seat with handlebars instead of the original toilet seat. Toilets should have a height of 17 to 19 inches, and it will be easier for seniors to sit and stand.
- Add a nightlight to your bathroom. This will benefit the elderly, who may need to go to the restroom several times during the night.
- Install a few nightlights along the road to the restroom so the elderly can find their way.
- Add a shower bench to your bathroom. A shower seat in the bathroom decreases the chance of slipping and improves self-mobility.
4. Make Changes in the Bedroom
You might not believe danger can lurk in a senior’s room, but you’d be wrong! Seniors may face many risks in this area. To keep your loved one’s bedroom safe, do the following:
- Install a telescoping grab bar between the floor and the ceiling in the bedroom. One of these was placed at the side of the bed for an easy grab when going in and out of bed.
- Use a single-lever doorknob instead of the spherical bedroom doorknob. This lever can be pushed down by a senior to open the door.
5. Make a few Adjustments in the Kitchen
The Kitchen is frequently referred to be the "heart" of a home. As a result, it seems only natural that seniors’ families and caregivers devote a significant amount of work to making this place safer for them. Here are some tips and tricks that you might not think of when trying to safe proof the kitchen:
- Pull all useful stored items from upper levels down to the place they can be accessed easily.
- For the kitchen sink, provide rubberized water faucet covers. These are color-coded for hot and cold, making them simpler to hold and turn. These items are frequently available at a senior supply store.
- Use "single-lever" knobs instead of typical "twist and turn" kitchen water faucet handles. These are significantly more user-friendly for seniors.
- Take a look inside the refrigerator. Wipe it down and toss out any food that has passed its “best before” date. Do the same with the pantry cabinets.
- Family caregivers should consider lesser quantities and nutrition when shopping for mom or dad. After all, seniors may eat less, eat less frequently, or forget to eat entirely.
6. Make Use of Home Automation
Despite what you might think, home automation systems can provide comfort, safety, and greater hands-free control for seniors. Yes, it might be quite expensive to manage and maintain, but it’s an option that is worth considering.
- A smart thermostat can adapt itself to keep your loved one warm and comfortable.
- Smart lights can be set to turn on and off at different times throughout the day.
- Motion sensors can also turn on lights, ensuring that no one is left in the dark.
As a family, relative, or caregiver, keeping our seniors safe, comfortable and healthy is an important task we cannot afford to take with levity. But we can’t achieve this without making major safe home improvements that can help us achieve this aim. We need to improve this, especially if we want them to spend their old age in comfort and as healthy as possible. Falls can be dangerous for seniors; therefore, you must make every necessary effort to prevent them.