Many elderly people wish to remain in their own home, rather than moving into a care home. Self-sufficient individuals prefer independent living. Children, relatives or friends can still offer support by safety proofing the home in several ways.
Trip & Slip Hazards
Slips and trips account for a large number of accidents involving senior citizens. Hazards are usually the primary cause. The first step care givers can take is removing anything that represents a tripping hazard, such as small pieces of furniture and any clutter.
Slips result from liquid spills on flooring that is not suitable for an elderly resident. You could install rubber back non-slip rugs that grip the floor. If there is carpeting in the home, make sure it is secured.
Space is one of the issues that make a home dangerous for an elderly person. If walkways are blocked by furniture or clutter, the chances of the occupant suffering a trip and fall are significantly increased.
Clearing all hallways and other walkways will help safety proof the person’s home. This is especially important if the individual has impaired mobility or vision. Navigating hazards becomes much more of a challenge. Some seniors may start to lose control of motor skills, which makes movement such as walking difficult.
Showers and wet rooms pose a potential hazard. Non-drip shower heads are designed to save money but they can also help reduce the risk of slipping in the bathroom.
It is important to keep on top of home maintenance. Drips and leaks in rooms such as the bathroom, laundry, or kitchen can cause slipping accidents. Carrying out repairs or replacing damaged parts is a worthwhile investment. You can also install non-slip rubber mats in these rooms for added safety.
Seniors with failing eyesight will need spaces that are well-lit. It is much easier to see obstacles and other kinds of safety risks. If the homeowner has a clear view of living spaces, the likelihood of an accident is dramatically reduced.
Entrances, hallways on all floors and outside lighting are the most important areas. Living spaces such as the living room and kitchen should also be well-lit. Lighting requires periodic maintenance to ensure that burned out bulbs are replaced as necessary.
Elderly people who suffer from mobility issues can stay safe in their own home with the assistance of handrails. The stairs, hallways, bathroom, and outdoor steps are the most logical places to install handrails.
These devices are designed to provide support for people with mobility problems. Walking up stairs may be difficult for an elderly person. Handrails provide support people who have difficulty walking or carrying heavy items such as groceries.
Night Time Precautions
A large number of senior accidents happen at night. Discussing additional safety precautions with an elderly person can reduce risks. A lamp next to the bed is a good way to ensure that the bedroom is well-lit if the occupant wants to use the bathroom or get a drink in the middle of the night.
You should also leave a flashlight close to the bed in case of a power outage. Ensuring the walking area around the bed is clear of clutter is also recommended. Regular cleaning and maintenance is also necessary to keep the home safe for older people. If the person is unable to carry out these chores, family and friends can pull together to keep the property safe.
If you are planning safety proofing modifications in a home, Houspect can provide construction inspection services. Please contact our office to arrange an inspection in the Northern Territory.