With the vast majority of older adults choosing to continue to live at home throughout the course of aging, it is important to perform an extensive home assessment to search for and fix any hazards and ensure the seniors you love remain safe. The easiest method to accomplish this is to begin outside of the home and work your way in, room by room, imagining what your experience would be in each location if you struggled with the likely challenges that occur when we grow older, such as with vision or balance.
Below are some practical home modification ideas for each area to help you get started:
- Check sidewalks as well as other walking areas for uneven pavement, loose bricks, cracks, leaves and other debris
- Ensure the address number, either on the mailbox or the home itself, is clearly visible in the event emergency responders have to locate the home
- If there are stairs or a ramp leading up to the entry door, a handrail should be put in on both sides
- Clear away any clutter, cords, and other items which could cause a person to trip
- Utilize a no-trip threshold in the doorway
- Make sure there is ample lighting, and a small table to put packages, a handbag, and other items when entering the home
- Remember to keep often-used items in easy-to-reach places
- Make use of Lazy Susans, pull out cabinets, and shelves for easier access
- Use touch, sensor, or lever handles in place of knobs that turn
- Set water temperature no higher than 120 degrees F
- Install grab bars next to the toilet, in the tub/shower, and in any other strategic location
- Consider a higher toilet, or add a toilet seat riser, along with a shower chair and handheld shower wand
- Always use non-slip strips in the tub and on the floor, and remove any throw rugs or mats (or ensure they are safely attached to the floor)
- Place nightlights both within the bedroom itself and in the hallway leading to the bathroom
- Eliminate any obstacles between the bed and doorway, and any other place in the room where the senior may need to move about
- Replace throw rugs with carpeting
Throughout the home, be certain that walkways are clear and spacious enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. It is also essential to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them occasionally and replacing batteries at least every 6 months.
And, consider an emergency response pendant for the senior to wear that can be activated to call for help in case of a fall, as well as other emergencies.
Partner Abby Senior Care, leaders in senior care in Parker, CO and the surrounding areas. We’re available to provide a home safety evaluation and suggest additional measures that can be taken to make sure your family member remains safe, as well as provide a wide variety of in-home care services, personalized to each individual’s unique needs.