As we age, we typically start to lose many of our faculties, making even the most basic of tasks a potential minefield for the elderly, including navigating your way around your home.
Whether you’re living with an older relative or are ageing yourself, there are some sensible precautions you should take to make your home safer and avoid potential accidents or even injury.
Falls are one of the most common accidents for the elderly, so you should consider installing handrails, particularly in areas where there are steps (e.g. at your front and back door). Also, if you live in a house with stairs, think about adding a second bannister so you can hold on with both hands as you ascend and descend. Falling down the stairs can have horrendous consequences for older people, so also remember to ensure these areas have bright lighting.
Another great idea to avoid using the stairs so often is to add a downstairs toilet to minimize how many times you have to go up and down.
Invest in a Personal Alarm
No matter how many precautions you take, accidents can and do happen, so you should think about investing in a personal alarm system. The best systems usually feature a pendant alarm that can be worn around the neck or on the wrist (similar to the ones on this medical supplies for nursing homes website). In the event of an accident, you simply push the button, which sends a signal to the base station that then calls a 24-hour monitoring service, alerting a carer that you’re in trouble. Check online to see the services available.
Ensure You Have Smoke Detectors Installed
As mentioned at the start, even simple tasks can become challenging for the elderly, and cooking can sometimes go wrong. You should ensure you have smoke detectors installed around your home in the event of any problems. Also, if you’re developing hearing issues, make sure they are loud enough to alert you.
Safety in the Bathroom
Even though it’s probably the smallest room in your home, the bathroom can still present a significant hazard if you’re getting older. The combination of water, and often, hard, slippery floors can be challenging, so you should make sure you’ve added handrails in the bath/shower and around the toilet. Also, make sure you add rubber mats to your shower area or consider buying a shower seat to make things easier. Lastly, if you have a personal alarm, you should make sure it’s waterproof in case anything happens when you’re taking a shower or bath.
Lighting and Avoiding Potential Trips and Falls
In the most used areas of your home, you should consider adding floor lighting (or at least bright lights) to help you see better. It’s also a very good idea to clear these areas of clutter and anything that might present a problem, from bad footing to balance issues. The fewer things there are to trip over, the less likely you’ll be to take a fall.