Home Safety Tips
As we age, we all wish to maintain our independence and self-dignity. There are two primary issues facing the elderly and their caregivers when making a plan to stay in their homes, they are the design of their homes and the support they receive no longer meets their needs.
Making home safety modifications for the ease of access is easier than ever before. Today, aging adults can enjoy living safely in their own home as long as possible. Home safety for seniors is a very serious issue and an unsafe environment can often result in serious injury or death.
The #1 risk for an independent living senior is a fall, which can have devastating effects. Falls account for 4 of every 5 injury-related hospitalizations by seniors and 20% of deaths related to an injury can be traced back to falls!
According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), each year more than 1.6 million seniors are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries caused by incidents such as slipping on a wet bathroom floor, loss of balance on stairs, or tripping on a rug.
Over 50% of seniors falls occur in or around the home. The statistics are frightening and acting on fall safety tips is a high priority health care concern for independent living seniors. The good news is that in recent years many accessible home products have come to the marketplace. The Universal Design movement has made great strides in making homes easier for everyone to use. The American Disabilities Act introduced guidelines which protect the rights of the disabled to access public facilities and businesses.
10 Simple Steps for a Safer Home
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help yourself or an aging loved one to be safer in their home. The simplest projects often offer some of the biggest benefits. These steps enhance your quality of life by enabling you to enjoy the full use of your home and maintain your personal independence.
- Remove tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways. Arrange furniture so that it creates open space and clear passage. Place items where they are easily accessible.. It is also important to keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping.
- Add bathroom safety features, such as using non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors, and install grab bars. Having a handicap accessible bathroom is an important element of home safety as many falls occur in the bathroom.
- Improve mobility throughout your home . This includes safety of outdoor walkways, entrances, doorways and stairs. Assistive devices such as a cane or walker can also help with balance and mobility. Wheelchair home safety products such as portable handicap ramps help you move freely in your home.
- Most homes don't have the features and conveniences to make them appropriate and safe for seniors . By planning ahead you can make more economical decisions on what and when to make changes in your home. Improvements in remodeling technologies have resulted in many new home accessibility products.
- If you choose to remodel to increase the convenience and comfort of your home, how you select, hire and manage the independent contractor often defines a successful project.
- For seniors living alone, a personal medical alert system allows a senior in distress to call for help.
- Exercise regularly to increase body strength, flexibility and improve balance. Regular exercise can also help prevent depression in seniors.
- Review all medicines with the doctor or pharmacist (both prescription and over-the-counter) to reduce side effects and interactions. Have vision checked. Be prepared for visits and be aware of the different types of health care professionals. We also recommend a geriatric home safety assessment be performed by a professional such as an occupational therapist. Be aware of elderly medical products that assist in independent living.
- Consider home health care to assist senior in higher risk activities such as bathing. Many levels of personal, psychosocial and domestic care are available, including live-in health care.
- Don't overlook the family caregivers. Caregiver burnout is a huge and growing problem. The Accessibility Professionals Team has helped many people and organizations transform their homes, workplaces and public facilities making them easier to use.
Accessibility is all about helping people of all abilities to live safety, comfortably and independently.
The information provided by Accessibility Lifestyle is not and should not be taken as advice or treatment from a doctor or health care professional. Never disregard professional, medical or health care advice, or delay seeking care due to any information found on this site.