While age brings wisdom and other joys, it also comes with an increased risk for injury, even in your own home. For caretakers, making a home safe for loved ones is priority. Fortunately, there are a wealth of ideas to put in place to make an elderly home safe.
If you’re a caretaker who is facing this issue, be sure to contact experts at Hope Grows who can help you find valuable resources on how to make your home safer. To give you some ideas on this important issue, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Making an Elderly Home Safe
Change is difficult, sometimes, especially for older people. Those who have lived in the same place for a long time may resist making changes. But it’s for the best when it can help protect them from injury, even if it’s difficult to get used to at first.
Some of these tips to make an elderly home safe involve changing behavior and consulting with physicians. Others involve aging adult home modification. In either case, the goal for caretakers is a simple one: make your loved ones safer.
As people age, the chances of a fall increase. The National Council on Aging reports that the reasons for this include the following.
- Balance and gait. Older people slowly lose coordination, flexibility and balance
- Vision. Less light reaches the retina as we age, making tripping hazards and obstacles harder to see
- Medications. Some medications may cause dizziness
- Chronic conditions. Arthritis, diabetes and stroke can increase the chance of falls
But one of the biggest risks is the environment, according to Health in Aging. Some do not take the steps needed to reduce the risk of falls. It’s important to take steps to make your home safer. They include the following.
Manage pets. There’s no need to get rid of pets! But it’s much safer if pets have a secure area where they can be placed when older adults need to move around.
Good lighting. Make sure hallways and stairs are always well lit and clear of objects.
Rug placement. Don’t put a scatter rug at the top or bottom of a staircase where it can potentially slide and cause a fall. Also, tape down larger area rugs so they don’t move.
The right footwear. If you have smooth floors, make sure to wear some type of non-slip footwear.
Home modifications. For those who live in older homes, it might become necessary to contact a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (builders earn the designation from the National Association of Home Builders). They can recommend and oversee installation of changes such as narrower doors, grab bars, additional lighting and ramps over stairways.
If renovations are needed and the home belongs to someone age 62 and older, and you live in a rural area, you may qualify for a federal Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants Program. Also, you may be able to find low-interest loans for aging adult home modifications.
You also want to get a risk assessment from your doctor, especially if you have fallen before or have had some scary “near misses.” They can make suggestions on any exercises that may help you maintain strength and balance.
Other Safety Issues for Aging Adult Homes
Some other issues to keep in mind when it comes to safety issues for aging adults include the following.
- Keep emergency numbers handy by having them programmed into you and your loved one’s cell phone. Also, have the numbers posted somewhere, such as on the refrigerator, just in case. These could include poison control, your healthcare provider’s office and 9-1-1.
- Check all appliances for damaged cords. Make sure all the smoke detectors in the home are functioning properly.
- One of the most important aging adult home modifications is to install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet.
If you experience any issues related to falls or other potential injuries, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your physician and consult with experts at a non-profit such as Hope Grows. You do not have to be in this alone. Allow others to help you make an elderly home safe.