Our elderly family members are more prone to falls and accidents in the home, which pose serious threats to their health and mobility. Problems with muscle strength, balance, and even side-effects of the medications they take can make them more vulnerable to injury from accidents. Here are 10 ways to make a home safe for seniors.
1. Remove or Secure Throw Rugs to Make a Home Safe for Seniors
Unsecured throw rugs are among the top causes of falls in older people. In most areas, it’s best to eliminate these rugs altogether. But if their use is necessary, such as in the bathroom, secure the rugs with double-sided tape to help reduce the risk of falls.
2. Add Bathroom Safety Features
Grab bars in the bathtub and shower provide stability and help prevent falls. Bath mats with rubber backing also help reduce the chance of slipping. A raised toilet seat is useful for seniors who have difficulty getting to their feet. Install a grab bar beside the toilet to offer extra assistance.
3. Install Extra Lighting in Stairways and Hallways
Impaired vision is a common problem as we age. Illuminate stairs, hallways, and other frequently traveled areas with additional fixtures or lighting that turns on when it senses movement.
4. Place Electrical Cords Out of the Way
Cords from lamps, TVs, and electronic equipment should be carefully tucked away to remove them as a tripping hazard. Don’t run cords under rugs, as this can cause overheating and lead to a fire.
5. Use Orange Tape for Floor Hazards to Make Your Home Safe for Seniors
Changes in flooring in the home, such as from hardwood to carpeting, can cause a fall. Steps from one room to another are also hazardous for elderly family members. Install bright orange tape in these transition areas to make them more visible and to help keep the home safe for seniors.
6. Keep Pets and Toys Out of Pathways
If older family members have significant mobility problems, keep pets confined to areas where they will not be underfoot. Similarly, children’s toys can be a hazard for seniors. Encourage children to keep toys in designated play areas in the home.
7. Prevent Medication Mix-ups
Keep medications in their original containers with attached labels detailing dosage and frequency. If needed, ask your pharmacist to provide large-print labels to make reading them easier. Medication alarm apps are helpful reminders for seniors to take their prescribed meds on time.
8. Cooking Hazards
Seniors should use care when cooking. Don’t allow them to wear loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire. Store food prep items in easy-to-reach areas so older family members don’t have to struggle to reach higher cabinets.
For some elderly people, cooking should be confined to the microwave. Make sure to test your fire alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice every year.
9. Rearrange Furniture to Provide Clear Walking Paths
Move items that block walking paths in each room. Replace glass coffee tables or shelves with other furniture that is less dangerous. Glass is more difficult to see and may shatter if a fall occurs. Remove items that may not be clearly visible and present a tripping hazard.
10. Use a Medical Alert System to Make Your Home Safe for Seniors
Medical alert systems have technology that allows the senior to call for help with the touch of a button, should they find themselves alone and in need of help.
Small changes make a big difference in your senior family member’s safety. Carefully inspect each part of your home, looking for potential hazards for someone who has impaired sight or mobility. Correcting these issues will keep the home safe and help prevent accidents.