With the vast majority of older adults choosing to continue to live at home throughout aging, it is essential to perform a comprehensive home assessment to look for and fix any dangers and make certain your loved ones remain safe. The most effective way to do this is to begin outside the home and work your way in, room by room, imagining what your experience might be in each location if you struggled with the frequent challenges that occur as we get older, such as with vision or balance.
Listed below are some modification ideas to improve safety at home for a senior you love:
- Inspect sidewalks and other walking areas for uneven pavement, loose bricks, cracks, leaves, along with other debris
- Make sure the address number, either on the mailbox and/or the home itself, is clearly visible in case emergency responders need to locate the home
- If there are stairs or a ramp leading up to the entry door, a handrail should be mounted on both sides
- Get rid of any clutter, cords, or other things that could potentially cause somebody to trip
- Utilize a no-trip threshold in the doorway
- Make sure there is ample lighting, and a small table to place packages, a purse, and other items when entering the residence
- Remember to keep often-used items in easy-to-reach places
- Make use of Lazy Susans, pull out cabinets, and shelves for easier access
- Use touch, sensor, or lever handles rather than knobs that turn
- Set water temperature to no more than 120 degrees F
- Install grab bars beside the toilet, in the tub/shower, and in any other strategic locations
- Consider a higher toilet, or add a toilet seat riser, as well as a shower chair and handheld shower wand
- Always use non-slip strips in the tub as well as on the floor, and take away any throw rugs or mats (or ensure they’re securely fastened to the floor)
- Place nightlights both in the bedroom itself, as well as in the hallway leading to the bathroom
- Eliminate any obstacles between the bed and doorway, and any other areas in the room in which the older adult may access
- Replace throw rugs with carpeting
Throughout the entire home, make sure walkways are clear and large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. It is also essential to put in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them regularly and changing batteries at least every 6 months.
And, consider an emergency response pendant for the senior to wear, which may be activated to call for help in case of a fall or other emergency.
Above all, partner with a reliable St. Louis home care provider like Compassionate Nursing Services. We are available to perform a home safety assessment and recommend additional steps that can be taken to make sure your senior loved one stays safe, as well as offer a variety of in-home care services, personalized to each individual’s unique needs.