8 Ways to Make a Home Safer for Your Aging Loved One

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Nearly nine out of 10 of America’s seniors wish to age in their own home as opposed to a senior living community or retirement home. And 60 percent of falls among the elderly occur in the home.

 

It is with those two facts in mind that warrant a discussion about some ways to make a home safer for aging loved ones. Family members, friends, and caregivers can’t be present all the time, and the clock can tick fast following a fall or other accident in the home when help is nowhere to be found.

 

Below are eight ways to make a home safer for aging loved ones.

 

1.  Tidy up.

Many household accidents are the result of debris in hallways or on stairways and furniture. Give your loved one’s home a good tyding up and make sure walkways are free of any clutter.

 

2. Get some traction.

Apply a coat of nonslip wax to tile and hardwood floors and place some nonskid treads on stairs to minimize slippage.

 

3. Move the upstairs down.

The best way to prevent a fall down the stairs is to limit the amount of stair climbing necessary. If your loved one lives in a multi-floor home, do some re-arranging to put everything they need — bed, computer, TV and so forth — on the ground floor to reduce trips upstairs.  

 

4. Start with the bathroom.

According to the National Institute on Aging, some 80 percent of household falls involving seniors happen in the bathroom. Install grab bars in the bathtub or shower and near the toilet and cover the floor with rubber-backed bathmats.

 

5. Make minor modifications.

Small modifications can make a big difference. Consider handrails for the hallway, lever handles instead of doorknobs and removing locks from bathroom and bedroom doors. Help your loved one check their Medicare coverage as certain home modifications related to aging-in-place may now be covered by private Medicare insurance.

 

6. Fix the rug.

Throw rugs and shag carpeting are large contributors to falls. Fasten throw rugs to the floor and replace any long-fibered carpet with a flatter surface that won’t get snagged on canes, walkers or feet.

 

7. Stay connected.

Technology makes it possible to stay connected with your loved one even when you’re not physically present. Medical alert devices, voice-operated command systems like Amazon Echo or a WalkWise walker attachment can keep help on notice at all hours of the day.

 

8. Light up the room.

Getting around becomes more difficult as we age, and so does seeing where we want to go in the first place. Older sets of eyes need more light, so install night lights around the house that operate on a timer, by motion-activation or simple touch.

You may also call on a professional for help. A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) can visit your loved ones home and make expert recommendations about ways to make the home a safer place to age.

These small investments can make way for long-term results as your loved one can age in the comfort — and safety — of their own home.      

 

Author Bio: Christian Worstell is a freelance writer living in Raleigh, NC.

 
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