Home Care

5 Ways to Make Your Home Safe for Seniors

Getting older is not always the simplest process. Depending on certain health conditions, it can become dangerous for a senior to live alone. Sometimes, however, a senior can continue to live alone more safely with a few minor adjustments to their home. Seniors may find it a good idea to ask family members for assistance in completing the following suggestions.

  1. Remove throw rugs: Throw rugs are perhaps one of the biggest causes of falls in elderly people who live in their own home. Many seniors are used to having throw rugs to decorate or cover flooring. Problems can arise if the person has a condition like diabetes, where neuropathy can cause the feet to become numb. The senior might not feel that his or her foot is caught on the rug and continue to walk, tripping themselves. Even a simple trip that would cause a young or middle-aged person to fall could be the end to independence for seniors. Removing throw rugs is the best option for safety.
  2. Install grab bars in the bathroom: Bathrooms can be hazardous due to the combination of hard tile and presence of water. Seniors are most likely to fall in bathrooms when they are lowering themselves to the toilet or exiting the shower. The installation of grab bars in strategic locations can significantly reduce that risk. If possible, there should be a grab bar located within the shower, outside the shower, and next to the toilet. An alternate solution for lowering and raising oneself off the toilet safely is to install a higher seat. Sometimes the toilet by itself is too low to guarantee a senior’s safety.
  3. Keep nightlights on throughout the night: As one grows older, bathroom falls throughout the night usually increase, especially in men. Many people feel that they know their own homes and do not turn on the light. This can be dangerous for seniors. A simple nightlight that illuminates the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom can be invaluable in preventing falls. It will show any clutter that was left in the senior’s path during the day and help them orient themselves.
  4. Run electrical cords along walls, not under rugs or across floors: Most people think it is unsightly to have electrical cords running across their floor, but there is sometimes no other option. Turning on the lights for a Christmas tree, for example, might have the electrical cord going straight across the room in order to get the power to the bulbs. In seniors’ homes, this might cause a fall. It is important to run these cords along walls where they will not be tripped over or have them permanently installed beneath wall-to-wall carpeting.
  5. Install a telephone in each room: Sometimes, despite all the precautions that have been taken, the worst happens and a senior takes a spill in their own home. Even if he or she is not injured, it may prove impossible to get back up to a standing position. If he or she is injured, help needs to arrive quickly. This is the reason that it is recommended to have a telephone installed in each room that can be reached from the floor. Cords are helpful to pull the receiver down to the senior’s level. A cell phone that is carried at all times can work as well. With permanent access to outside assistance, a senior can receive help if he or she has fallen and cannot get up.