Creating a Safe Living Environment for Seniors
Safety is defined as being protected from any event that may result in injury, risk or is likely to cause danger. As people age, safety becomes increasingly important. For seniors with reduced mobility, everyday activities of daily living can become difficult.
Mom may have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, or dad could be a fall risk. Adapting the living environment for seniors who may need a little bit more assistance with their daily self-care activities will not only help keep them independent for longer but also gives the senior and their families peace of mind knowing that their environment is safe.
Simple Safe home fixes
- Removing loose rugs and carpets from the senior’s home will help prevent falls. We all love how rugs make rooms feel warm and homey, but if the rug is loose or has tassels, it creates an uneven walking surface and poses a trip hazard. If the carpet or rug is loose, adding a nonslip matt could be an easy fix and keeps with the aesthetic of the home. Even removing the rug altogether can help increase the safety in the home. This is one of the many amenities Heartwood offers.
- Steps leading up to the house can also be difficult for a senior to navigate. Sometimes all that is needed to help navigate the entrance of a home is adding a sturdy handrail. If the senior is dependent on a walker or a wheelchair for mobility, placing a portable ramp where there are stairs can make a big difference in accessibility. Placing a longer ramp helps lower the slope making entering and exiting much easier.
- Keeping hallways safe and clear of clutter is very important. In most houses, hallways do not often have windows or bright lights. Making sure the senior has a good amount of light in the hallway can help reduce injury. Keeping hallways clear of tripping hazards, such as loose rugs, can also help reduce fall risks.
- In the kitchen, placing items that are commonly used within reach can help reduce the risk of being off balance. Not having to bend down for a bowl or trying to stretch to the top shelf of a cabinet for a drinking glass can make a huge difference in terms of safety. Purchasing a kitchen cart or adding a cart on a walker can help transport dishes or food from one area in the kitchen to another.
- Simple fixes in the bedroom can also keep seniors safe. Making sure that the room has good light is important. A flashlight or motion-controlled night lights can make the world of difference when using the restroom at night. A lamp by the bedside will also help increase visibility. A table tray over the bed or nearby allows for food to be eaten in bed. It also acts as a place to keep books, flashlights (though not too late to cause a seizure) and a personal alarm nearby. Sometimes if a bed is too low, a person may have a hard time getting in and out of bed. Raising the bed by buying a new bed frame or using a bed raiser on the existing frame can help. In the same respect, if a person rolls out of bed, placing the bed closer to the floor or using fall mats at night can also help reduce injury.
- The bathroom can be a hard place to navigate for a person with reduced mobility. Most often showers and bathtubs require a person to step into them. A toilet may be difficult to get up from because they are typically low to the floor and do not have chair arms to help raise from. Adding grab bars near these areas also help with balance when navigating. If the senior has a step-in shower, a shower ramp can be added to help make the shower more accessible. Adding a battery powered bath lift can help reduce the fall risk of getting in and out of a bathtub. Seniors can push a button to lower or lift them out of the tub.
Keeping seniors as independent as possible helps with their overall quality of life. Adapting their living environment helps keep them safe while also allowing them to continue performing their own activities of daily living. Plus, nothing can beat the peace of mind that comes with knowing that mom and dad live in an environment tailored to their current capabilities.