One reason that many senior citizens leave their homes to live in facilities is that their home isn’t safe for them anymore. Hazards from stairs, areas inaccessible to walkers and wheelchairs, hard-to-reach places, and slippery bathtubs are just a few examples of how a house can be dangerous for seniors. Many seniors and their families realize it’s worth the time and effort to make a home safe for seniors.
How to Make Home Safe for Seniors
While revamping a home to make it safe, it’s important to think proactively. Rather than focusing on your loved one’s current condition, consider how things might be after a fall or an extended stay in the hospital. Imagine trying to navigate the home from the confines of a wheelchair. Thinking ahead can save money and stress, so imagine a long-term scenario and be proactive.
Make the Kitchen Safe
As your loved one ages, it becomes more difficult to reach up high, lift heavy pans, and stand for long periods of time.
For many seniors, counters and cabinets can be too high to reach things easily. Lower the height of counters and sinks, and move things where they’re all in easy reach. Microwaves can be more accessible on a microwave cart than in a raised cabinet or at the back of a counter.
It might also be a good time to consider replacing heavy items with lighter ones like skillets and pans. You might also get rid of the glassware and replace it with non-breakables.
Falls Happen in the Bathroom
With or without the assistance of a caregiver, your loved one must be able to use the restroom and bathe safely. Many falls happen in the bathroom around the tub, so start there. Make sure the tub is easy and safe to enter and exit. You might consider replacing a traditional tub with a walk-in tub or shower.
Add safety bars and non-slip strips. A bathtub transfer bench can allow the elderly to sit while carefully lifting each leg into the tub.
Make a Home Safe for Seniors by Boosting Accessibility
Will your loved one need a wheelchair in the days ahead? Add ramps, widen doorways, and install indoor threshold ramps to make it easier to move from one room to another in a wheelchair. Traction tape is another option for seniors needing help walking without slipping.
Add a ramp in the garage. If your loved one likes to work in the yard or garden, install a rail along often traversed paths.
There may be hazards like throw rugs that slip, cords that can be tripped over, and clutter in the way. Check for problems like these often and rearrange things to make them safer.
Make a Home Safe for Seniors by Staying Connected
One of the best ways to help your loved one age in place is to stay connected daily if possible. Finding out that he or she had a minor fall is crucial to preventing major falls alter, but you may not know about it without checking in. Make sure that he or she has an easy-to-use cell phone with accessible chargers around the house and an emergency button.
Customize your methods to make a home safe for seniors based on their specific needs, both now and in the future. Check out our blog post on home safety essentials, which all seniors should have in the home.