When we think of home safety, there are many obvious precautions that come to mind: smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and strategically placed hand rails, just to name a few. However, there are many more eminent dangers that elderly parents face every day, dangers that can be easily remedied or removed from their home all together.
Falls are the number one cause of injury to seniors in their homes. Most falls are preventable! With just a few safety precautions you can decrease your parents chance of injuring themselves. Remove all phone cords that stretch or drape across a room, floor or walkway. If necessary purchase a cordless phone.
Do NOT store anything on a stair case, in the stair well or on the stair-treads. Never drape items over a stair banister that would prevent it being used as a safety bar or hand rail. Keep hallways and staircases well lit. Avoid slippery rugs and runners. Make sure all rugs have a non-slip backing and are flush to the floor. Keep a clearly marked emergency phone chart near the phone. Do not store heavy objects high in the closet or above waist level- handling a heavy object over head is sure way to lose balance.
Bathrooms are the most dangerous room in your parent's home. Water, soap and a slippery floor can be a fatal mixture. More falls occurring in the bathroom than any other room. A walk in tub is one way of making your parents home a safer environment for your parents. A walk in tub will not only reduce their step over the side of the tub, but will also provide a seat to sit on during the bath. Walk in tubs greatly reduce the risk of falling while trying to bathe.
Another way to assist your parents in maintaining their independence and guaranteeing their safety is to replace their standard toilet with a higher commode seat. This eliminates the stress on the lower back when sitting down, and reduces the struggle to stand back up. The higher seat also helps your parents maintain their balance.
We strongly suggest adding safety bars and hand rails around the toilet area and the bathtub area. Safety bars not only give stability and strength to your parents as they stand or sit, but it also gives them peace of mind.
Planning Is Key.
"Aging In Place" is a new catch phrase to an old concept- living at home in comfort for as long as possible. There are many aspects that one should consider when intending to "age in place". The key goal is to be proactive with your preparation so that you're not making decisions in a "reactive" mind set during an already difficult time- should a crisis arise.
One key element to keep in mind when retrofitting or adapting your home or a loved one's home is "accessibility". Make sure their doors can be widened, sinks are low enough to be accessible from a wheelchair, kitchen counters are a comfortable height and that at least one bedroom is on the main floor of your home.
The aging baby boomer population has a host of new options to assist them in their transition into the winter of life. It is important to understand the options so that you make the best decision for you or your loved one. Many factors need to be considered when planning changes to your home. We hope that these