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Play It Safe: 3 Ways to Senior-Proof a Home

by Terry Wilson

If you are a senior (or you have a loved one who is elderly) you need to recognize the hazards that may be lurking inside the home. Here are three things you can do to provide a safer environment for seniors:

1. Prevent Falls and Slipping Hazards Inside the Home

Falls to an elderly person can cause serious injury, as the elderly are likely to have fragile bones that fracture more easily than that of a younger individual. It's a good idea to go through the house room by room and note some of the dangers that may be lurking about.

  • The Stairs: Homes with stairways may be dangerous for an elderly individual who has limited mobility, balance issues, or vision problems. If you or your elderly loved one must walk the stairs daily, you might want to consider installing a safe stair lift. These may be installed on straight or curved stairways, as well as outdoor stairs. In most cases, a stair lift will not need structural alterations to the home and can be installed in a matter of hours. For more information, contact a stair lift company and request an in-home evaluation and price quote.

  • Area Rugs: It's a good idea to eliminate throw rugs in a home inhabited by a senior. Area rugs can easily become bunched up, making it possible for someone with balancing difficulties to trip over. If you must keep throw rugs on the floor, check them periodically for signs of fraying or loose threads that may become a tripping hazard.

  • Poor Lighting: Poor lighting in the home may not only make it more difficult to see and read, it can cause falling accidents as well. Be sure to correct dim lighting, especially around stairs and narrow hallways.

2. Make Some Alterations to the Bathroom

Many seniors find it difficult or challenging to perform everyday tasks in the bathroom. Taking a bath or using the toilet may become a challenge for a senior with mobility issues. Here are a few things that can be modified in the bathroom:

  • Walk-In Tub or Shower: If getting in and out of the bathtub has become a challenge, a walk-in tub may solve the problem. Walk in tubs have low thresholds, making it easier for the elderly person to enter and exit effortlessly. It creates a safer bathing environment. The door of the walk-in tub allows the user to step in, rather than step over the edge. Walk-in tubs also feature chair height seats and grab bards for safety.

  • Shower chair in any standard shower or tub.

  • Slip-proof rubber mat inside the bathtub or shower.

  • Raised Toilet: A raised toilet seat can be a great help to an elderly person. If you or your loved one ha difficulty rising from the toilet, have this device installed.

3. Check the Outside, Too

The exterior of a home may be a hazard as well. For one thing, porch steps should have a handrail for safety. Next, take a look at the steps. If you notice any cracks, repair them at once, as these may be a falling hazard. The front porch and back patio should be well lit to avoid a fall.

It may seem trite, but the old adage of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" rings true, especially where senior safety is concerned. For more advice on senior care, talk to facilities like the Paramount Parks At Eagle.