Safety Tips To Help With Barrier Free Living

Gravity is one of those things that as we age, become less and less of a friend. Seniors experience a natural loss of mobility and are more prone to falling. They lose muscle strength and become increasingly less able bodied. All of these changes make it more likely for seniors to sustain severe injuries, even death. It has been reported that over fifty percent of falls involving seniors happen within the four walls of their home.

A tumble can have unfavorable impact on a senior’s ability to prosper in an self-sufficient environment. Even healthy seniors who fall may suffer from debilitating injuries, such as a broken hip or an injury to the head leaving them in need of constant care within a long-term care facility or long-term hospitalization. This alone can alter a senior’s life and remove the senior of being able to care for themselves.

Preventing accidents from happening in the first place is the main element in helping the seniors we love to stay safe while at home. This takes a few straightforward changes to modify the home environment. Seniors have a deep desire to age in place. Making minimal changes to an individual’s home can enable them to stay living at home longer which has been proven to keep them living a healthy, independent life. Simple age in place remodeling can leave seniors in their homes for up to ten years longer than if home safety modifications are not done.

Here is a list of uncomplicated changes that can be made to your aging loved ones home to improve their safety while choosing to live independently.

• De-clutter the home. This decreases the likelihood of tripping. Look for items lying about the home such as plants, scatter rugs, stacks of papers or magazines that could be cluttering the walk ways making it unsafe to move about. Cords to may be a hazard so tuck them in and use clips to attach them to the baseboards.

• The floors are another consideration in the home to think about. Carpets should not be shaggy as this can make maneuvering using a walker difficult. Tile and vinyl can be slippery especially in the bathroom. Make sure to use a slip resistant bathmat for drying off. If stairs are still used by loved ones think about the installation of hand rails on both sides of the stairway.

• The lighting in and out of the home should be bright and frequent throughout the home.

• Doorknobs and kitchen cabinets should be changed out with levers and pulls to make them easier for seniors to grip hold of.

The bathroom is a room within the home that needs to be handled with great detail.

• Grab bars should be installed throughout the home around the tub, shower and toilet area.

• Toilet seats that are higher than normal should be installed or a raised bathroom safety seat. This helps with aging knees and weak arms that don’t always want to cooperate bending.

• If it is possible a bathroom remodel can really create a bathroom safe for seniors. Consider installing a walk-in shower or tub with seating.

• The surface of the shower and tub areas should be covered with slip resistant mats.

• The water temperature should be lowered to prevent scalding and knobs should be easy to turn for frail hands without a great deal of strength.

The kitchen is another place that creates an environment not conducive to aging in place.

• Everything that is used on a regular basis should be well within reach.

• Phone numbers should be programmed into a telephone that is able to be carried and used throughout the home.

• Medication should be in packaging that has large writing and clear directions with easy to unscrew lids that make getting medication more convenient for your loved one.

It is important to keep our aging population safe while they choose to age in place. Remodeling a home is a minor step we can take as caregivers to ensure their safety and happiness. Allowing them to age at home by creating a safe, workable, independent home environment is a gift any senior would treasure.