As your parents and grandparents age, it is human nature to worry about their health and safety. Although they may still have the same big and loving personality, aging puts them at risk of injury. Adults 65 years and older are at the greatest risk of accidents both within and outside their homes with more than 25% of people suffering from falls each year. Not only can falling cause injuries, such as broken bones and head trauma, it also doubles one’s chance of falling again.
Elderly people are at risk of falls due to lower body weakness, vision issues, and difficulties with balance and stability. These health issues are enhanced by unknown dangers within one’s home, with certain areas posing the greatest risks. Continue reading to learn how to prevent accidents within the home.
Outdoor stairs pose a danger of slipping and falling.
Ramps can replace stairs at the entrance or within the home to prevent your loved ones from missing a step or tripping down the stairs. Handrails can also be added next to the ramp for extra security and support.
If your loved ones have mobility issues, adding a stair lift indoors will enable them to move throughout their home with independence and ease. An alternative option is to shift the bedroom downstairs to eliminate the need to use the staircase.
Rugs make it difficult for those in wheelchairs and walkers to navigate the home and they may fold up, causing trips and falls. Removing rugs and carpeting is a simple fix.
Doorways are challenging for those with arthritis whose joint pain may make opening doors difficult. Lever handles enable doors to open and close more easily without causing discomfort.
If your loved one uses a wheelchair, doorways may need to be widened to a minimum of 32 inches wide with 36 inches of turning width.
Getting in and out of bed is difficult when an elderly lacks strength and balance. Bed rails that attach to the sides of the bed can provide support when getting in and out of bed, as well as prevent falls. The benefits and risks of bed rails can be found here.
Memory problems are common amongst the elderly, but a slip of the mind while cooking can be deadly. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that those over the age of 65 are 2.5 times more likely to be injured in a kitchen fire than the general population. They are also more likely to suffer a fall injury due to items stored out of reach.
A fire can result if food is left unattended while cooking over the stove. However, devices can be installed into kitchen stove appliances to automatically shut down the stove top if left unattended for a specified period of time.
Other kitchen safety tips include:
- Installing bright lighting
- Replacing glass items with unbreakable ones
- Storing items in cabinets within reach
- Storing heavy items at waist level
- Turning pot handles inward
- Testing smoke detectors monthly and replacing batteries once a year
Bathrooms are home to countless slippery surfaces and hard structures, such as vanities, tubs, and showers, that can cause injury if a fall were to occur.
Showers can be made safer by:
- Placing rubber floor mats on the ground to prevent slips and falls
- Transforming bathrooms into walk-in showers to eliminate the need to step up
- Using shower chairs to combat balance issues
- Checking water heater temperatures or installing anti-scald faucets (48 degrees celsius burns the skin)
- Installing portable shower grab bars at arm and waist height to provide support when entering and exiting the shower
- Purchasing detachable shower heads to make grooming easier
- Installing waterproof medical alert buttons to enable your loved one to call for help and receive medical attention if they fall
Other bathroom safety tips include:
- Placing non-slip floor mats outside of the shower or tub prevent slips
- Constructing raised toilet seats, and toilet safety rails that make sitting and getting up easier
A home should be a safe haven, not a hazardous place. To ensure that our elderly loved ones can maintain their independence while still being confident that they are safe, follow the above tips on how to make their home accident-free.
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