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Senior Proofing—A Gift of Love

By Bill Case | In Fall Prevention, Resources, Safety | on December 5, 2013

As first time parents, the first thing we did before we brought our new baby home was to baby proof our house.  We knew there were “home” high risk factors to injury or possibly even death if we didn’t act responsibly.  The facts are clear about the dangers to infants in the home and preventable steps you can take to baby proof.  Today, there are plenty of websites, along with family and friends to gather as much information as needed to insure your new baby’s safety.

To start, make sure the crib, changing table and all areas where the baby will be is properly padded.  Remove all small objects on the floor and the surrounding areas to ensure there is nothing that your baby will put into his mouth.  Another step is to secure a baby proof fence in the door and use electrical outlet plugs to keep those curious holes in the wall covered.  These are a few of the baby proof changes to prevent injury— I’m sure as a parent you get the point.

Now as our babies grow, develop, mature and finally have a family of there own, who will take care of their aging parents and grandparents?  They will remember that even though they had the safest home, there still were those bruises, cuts and even broken bones.  Unfortunately, these are the fallouts of an active child, but what about the fallouts of an aging adult.  Who will protect and prevent injuries for them?

Who will Senior Proof their home for them?  The answer is you.

Falling is the number one cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65 years of age.  Every 15 seconds a senior is seen in the emergency room for a fall-related injury.  Those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. Each week, there are more than 30,000 adults over the age of 65 that are seriously injured by falling.  Each week, nearly 250 older adults will die as a result.  Falling is not an inevitable result of aging.  Adult falls are preventable.

Today’s Senior or (S-Generation) needs to have their home Senior Proofed.  There are resources available to senior proof the home and I’ve collected them into a handy buyers guide on Amazon. In addition, here are a couple of great checklists and question guides:

Home Safety Checklist

Good Questions to Ask from the National Center for Injury Prevention

Most home falls occur in the bathroom.  A few necessary senior proof home tips are installing a hand grab bar in the bathroom, specifically in the shower.  Also, a rubber mat in the shower is necessary to prevent slipping.  Furthermore, an elevated toilet with a wall grab bar is useful when getting up from the toilet safely.

Clean stovetops in the kitchen to prevent fires. Night lights are necessary in the halls, bedroom and bathrooms.  The throw rugs and cords on the floor should be removed to prevent tripping.  Medical alert necklaces are imperative, especially for seniors living alone.  The home should not be considered a war zone with mine fields of booby traps, just waiting to take our loved ones down.  Just think, do you know a senior, a parent or grandparent and wander how safe is their home.  Prevention is the key, education and action is the answer.

Recently, I was talking to someone about their 80 year old dad, who is living alone and doing just fine.  He is active, driving and gets out socially to be with his friends.  He has some arthritis and uses a cane to walk but has not had any falling episodes.  When I asked, what kind of prevention measures (senior proofing) have been taken in the home, specifically the bathroom to prevent falls for your dad—-I was told none, because he hasn’t needed any.   I paused and said, what are you waiting for?  At that instant, a light went off and I was told, WOW !!!, what do I need to do to keep Dad from falling?

If you know a older adult, who is independent and active, then what better gift can you give than a gift of love and help with a home senior proofing assessment.

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-Physical Therapist 32 yrs. with 19 years in private practice -University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston,TX. - Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy- 1982 -Post graduate Sports Physical Therapy Specialist --1987 -Inventor: Diagonal Rotary Patterning Machine, Patent 1988 -Lecture: on orthopedic injuries-nationally and internationally -Co-author: for SPORTS PHYSICAL THERAPY -Writer: for The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Self, Men's Health, Fitness and Prevention magazines

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78 Comments to "Senior Proofing—A Gift of Love"

  • Deborah says:

    December 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm -

    Outstanding ideas here! So many of us are taking care of our aging parents, and we honestly don’t know what to do to help them. I love the ideas here and will use them with my mother-in-law. Thank you, Bill, for educating us on useful ways to assist our parents. Keep up the great work!

  • Foxy says:

    December 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm -

    “What are you waiting fore” Oh, my. I can related to this question. I have many friends who need to start senior proofing their parents homes. Unfortunately, it is difficult to accept that our parents are aging. We have to change the way we think about our parents. They took care of us, they were always in charge and we have to respect them.

    When a parent gets older, if you respect them, it is time to take care of them. However, I have noticed a lot of people saying that their parent is fine until something happens. By that point it is too late because once you fall you will keep falling. I hope people will read this and understand it is their turn to care and protect their parents.

  • pathwise says:

    December 18, 2013 at 7:23 am -

    This is a great eye-opener for a lot of people out there – children of aging parents and aging people alike.

    Taking the time to be extra careful and put simple measures in place to prevent simple falls and mistakes is key to making sure you prevent accidents from happening.

    Any place that has tile floors and has water involved are especially cause for concerns.

    1. theshaynee says:

      January 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm -

      All this is really true, especially the last part.
      It makes me nervous because in my grandma’s bathroom, she has linoleum flooring and it gets so slick when it’s wet.
      Now she has the walk-in tub which is wonderful. But getting to the tub, that’s the tricky part sometimes.

  • Fit4living says:

    December 21, 2013 at 9:04 am -

    I really appreciate the Home Safety Checklist; what a great resource!

    Retirement is right around the corner for my parents, and I have been talking to them about the importance of installing some safety bars in strategic places. I want them to be able to enjoy their retirement years, instead of spending them healing from injuries that could have been prevented. They sometimes tease me because I am so safety-conscious, but I think they appreciate that I have their best interests at heart!

  • theshaynee says:

    January 13, 2014 at 7:40 pm -

    I really had no idea about this. This is really helpful and an amazing resource. Now the trick is going to be talking my grandparents into it! We already have them electric recliners so they can easily get in and out of their chairs. It helps especially with my grandmother who always has an injured limb,. I really like these ideas though. What are some things we could do with someone that already has an injury to help things along?

  • elidbugg says:

    January 16, 2014 at 7:55 pm -

    There’s a good reason why every elderly person should look for ways to senior proof your home. Every year about 7,000 elderly deaths are reported as a result of home-related accidents, and millions sustain injuries.Many risks are associated with the elderly living independently, which is why some people choose to place their loved ones in assisted living homes. However, it is much more comfortable for elderly people to live out the rest of their lives in their own homes. Some of the risks associated with independent elderly living are falls, burns, drowning, and other accidents.The first step to a senior proof home is recognizing what hazards are in the home. For instance, the stairs, shower, and stove. Take medical issues into consideration during your assessment.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm -

    Taking Seniors For Eye Check-ups – make sure seniors have their eyes checked by a doctor at least once a year and have their eyeglasses updated as needed. A good tip: consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for activities such as walking outside.

  • Cosmic Debris says:

    January 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm -

    WE never really think about senior proofing homes so this is a great blog entry. I wonder, though, how to go about senior proofing an aging parent’s home without their feeling these safety checks are acts of disrespect?
    Enlisting the senior’s help with rearranging things might be one way to avoid hurt feelings, but what about the stubborn, pride laden person who feels they are being forced into dependency?

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 2:57 am -

    Six out of every 10 falls happen at home, where we spend much of our time and tend to move around without thinking about our safety. Many falls could be prevented by making simple changes in your living areas, as well as personal and lifestyle changes.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 2:58 am -

    Take steps to “fall proof” your home, both inside and outdoors. To make your home safer, you can
    remove or avoid safety hazards
    improve lighting
    install handrails and grab bars
    move items to make them easier to reach

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 2:58 am -

    An important step toward preventing falls at home is to remove anything that could cause you to trip or slip while walking. Tripping on clutter, small furniture, pet bowls, electrical or phone cords, or other things can cause you to fall. Slipping on rugs or slick floors can also cause falls.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 2:59 am -

    Arrange furniture to give you plenty of room to walk freely. Also remove items from stairs, hallways, and pathways.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 2:59 am -

    Be sure that carpets are secured to the floor and stairs. Remove throw rugs, use non-slip rugs, or attach rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.
    Put non-slip strips on floors and steps. Put non-slip strips or a rubber mat on the floor of your bathtub or shower, as well. You can buy these items at a home center or hardware store.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:00 am -

    At home and elsewhere, try to avoid wet floors and clean up spills right away. Use only non-skid wax on waxed floors at home.
    Be careful when walking outdoors, and avoid going out alone on ice or snow. A simple slip on a slick sidewalk, a curb, or icy stairs could result in a serious injury.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:00 am -

    During the winter, ask someone to spread sand or salt on icy surfaces. Be sure to wear boots with good traction if you must go out when it snows. Better yet, don’t take chances walking on icy or slippery surfaces.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:01 am -

    Poor lighting — inside and outdoors — can increase your risk of falls. Make sure you have enough lighting in each room, at entrances, and on outdoor walkways. Use light bulbs that have the highest wattage recommended for the fixture.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:01 am -

    Good lighting on stairways is especially important. Light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs can help. Place a lamp within easy reach of your bed. Put night lights in the bathroom, hallways, bedroom, and kitchen. Also keep a flashlight by your bed in case the power is out and you need to get up.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:01 am -

    Have handrails installed on both sides of stairs and walkways. If you must carry something while walking up or down stairs, hold the item in one hand and use the handrail with the other. When you’re carrying something, be sure you can see where your feet are stepping.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:02 am -

    Properly placed grab bars in your tub and shower, and next to the toilet, can help you avoid falls, too. Have grab bars installed, and use them every time you get in and out of the tub or shower. Be sure the grab bars are securely attached to the wall.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:02 am -

    You might find it helpful to rearrange often-used items in your home to make them more accessible. Store food boxes, cans, dishes, clothing, and other everyday items within easy reach. This simple change could prevent a fall that might come from standing on a stool to get to an item.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:03 am -

    If you have fallen, your doctor might suggest that an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or nurse visit your home. These health care providers can assess your home’s safety and advise you about making changes to prevent falls.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:05 am -

    The bathroom is one of the most dangerous places for seniors. Tiled floors and loose electrical appliances increase the chances of a fall in one of the most used rooms in the home. Fall-proofing a bathroom takes a little bit of thought and time, but will help reduce the chances of a dangerous accident that could leave an elderly person bedridden or needing additional care for a long time.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:05 am -

    Look at the bathroom with a critical eye. Are floors bare and tiled? Can puddles from the shower or bathtub accumulate and cause a fall hazard? Are electrical cords trailing down past counter spaces or across the floor from electrical sockets to counter tops? Is the bathroom cluttered with too many objects, which may make navigation difficult? Factor in vision problems and mobility difficulties when assessing such hazards.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:06 am -

    Install nonskid floor mats in the bathroom, especially in front of the tub or shower and the toilet. Place nonskid stickers on the shower floor or along the bottom of the tub. Make sure bathroom rugs in front of counters or toilets won’t slip, even when wet. If the floor always gets wet after a shower or bath, find out why. If necessary, purchase a heavier shower curtain or caulk the sides of the tub or shower space to reduce chances of water buildup.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:07 am -

    Install grab bars near the bathtub to facilitate ease of getting in and out of the tub. Place a grab bar inside the tub or shower to help with balance or for added security. Install a grab bar near the toilet area to help with sitting on or rising from a toilet. Make sure such bars are installed properly, according to package directions. Use a stud finder to find the wall studs and anchor these bars or they may pull out of the wall when weight is placed on them.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:07 am -

    Remove unnecessary appliances from the bathroom when not in use. For example, store floor heaters during warmer months, and put accessories in cabinets to reduce the chance of someone tripping over dangling cords.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:07 am -

    Install hooks or racks for towel and clothing storage. Again, find the studs in the wall for added security. Don’t leave clothes, towels or other objects lying around on the floor. Install a bench or chair to help with dressing and undressing.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:11 am -

    For many people, their home represents their life accomplishments; this is especially true for individuals diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers. Most families want to keep their loved one at home for as long as possible so the person can be in familiar surroundings. Therefore, it is important to create a safe environment for your loved one to live in while they can still remain at home.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:12 am -

    When caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s or memory problems in the home it is important to avoid accidents, minimize injuries in the event of an accident, and remove “triggers” that could cause agitation or challenging behaviors.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:13 am -

    . It is important to accommodate the needs of the caregiver as well as the senior with dementia. There are no fixed rules. Each person’s home is different, just like each person with dementia or Alzheimer’s related memory loss. There will be unique behaviors or characteristics that require continual reassessment. Be sure to walk throughout the home as the disease progresses to monitor it for safety issues that may arise.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:13 am -

    Start with a Plan—Survey your home thoroughly prior to making changes. Look for areas and items that could be hazardous to your loved one. Survey the home as if you were the senior person with dementia then decide what area should be tackled first. The following suggestions can assist you with beginning your plan:

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:14 am -

    Simplify—As Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, it becomes more difficult for seniors to process environmental information. The simpler things are in the home, the fewer environmental inputs there are to interpret and distract the person.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:14 am -

    Create walking paths throughout the home—Paths should be as straight and direct as possible. For example, a path from the kitchen to the dining room will need to be free of furniture and decorative items (ALL THROW RUGS SHOULD BE REMOVED).

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:14 am -

    Reduce clutter—Open spaces make both access and decision making easier, while decreasing the potential for over-stimulation.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:15 am -

    Utilize labels—Labeling areas and items in the home may provide visual cues to maintain the senior’s independence within the household. For example, attaching pictures of silverware outside the utensil drawer or hanging a “BATHROOM” sign on the bathroom door. It is important to use symbols and/or the language the person can relate to at their current level of function. Therefore, it may be necessary to change the kind of labels you use as the cognitive level changes.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:15 am -

    Identify “Zones” in your home – Think of your home in terms of zones as you start to develop a plan. As you survey your home, look at all cabinets, drawers, doors, and living spaces as one of the following zones:

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:16 am -

    Danger Zone — This is an area that should be off-limits to your loved one. This zone includes any places, objects or features that may be potentially dangerous. These types of rooms should be secured and can be used to store breakables, tools, chemicals, or any other items deemed unsafe for seniors with dementia. Doors leading to these rooms should be kept locked and alarmed if possible.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:16 am -

    Respite Zone — This space should be considered a sanctuary for the caregiver. This is a place where the caregiver can relax undisturbed and conduct personal affairs. Having a place to get away and have time alone can greatly reduce burnout and stress.
    Examples Include:
    Renovated attic
    Spare room
    Office in the home

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:17 am -

    safe Zone — This zone should include everything else in the house not identified as a danger or respite zone. It is preferable to safety-proof a room than declare it off limits. As much of the house as possible should remain available to the senior with Alzheimer’s to wander, hide things, rummage and exhibit the behaviors that are common with the disease. This zone should be free from agitating or harmful situations.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:18 am -

    The following are helpful hints to creating safe areas:

    Lighting — Reducing shadows and dark areas in the home can help eliminate sights that may be misinterpreted or trigger confusion. Ways to enhance lighting include adding night-lights to hallways, pathways and bathrooms, and replacing light bulbs in lamps with brighter wattages.
    Bathrooms — This room can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. Possible dangers include: slips and falls, burns, poisoning, cuts, electrocution, and drowning The following are ways to create a safer bathroom:
    Adding shelving units behind the toilet to display toilet paper, clean towels, Kleenex and other items (shelving must be able to double as a grab bar). Having these items displayed and easily available will eliminate confusion.
    Safety proof or relocate wall hooks, glass shelves, throw rugs, mouthwash, laxatives, sleeping aides, cough syrup, and other medications (prescription and over the counter).
    Remove all electrical appliances that can be dropped in water: electric razors, lighted portable mirrors, space heaters, irons, electric rollers, hairdryers, small radios or TV’s.
    Identify or mark hot and cold faucets with large letters.
    Lower household hot water temperature to 105 – 110 degrees when practical.
    Modify the door to give access to the caregiver in case of an emergency (possibly remove the lock, move it to an unusual place, or have it specially keyed)
    Make the room warmer – install a heating lamp in the ceiling with a timer (space heaters are never advised). Many people with dementia stop using the bathroom (because it seems too cold) without being able to verbalize this discomfort.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:19 am -

    Preparing your home to care for a senior with Alzheimer’s Disease or any dementia related disorder is difficult. It is important to plan ahead rather than react to a crisis. Careful planning, foresight, knowledge, and patience is needed to safe proof your home. We are here to help.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:20 am -

    A common problem among senior citizens who are capable of caring for themselves is how to make their environment more practical and safe. According to a survey conducted by researchers at Iowa State University, the uppermost concerns among the elderly are convenience, comfort and safety. In the survey, 85 homemakers aged 65 and over offered suggestions on how to make a house more ‘age-proof.’

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:20 am -

    Convenience and comfort
    A small and compact kitchen area where everything is within reach is ideal. Thus, distances between utilities and appliances are reduced. In addition, easily maneuverable faucets and knobs make cooking and washing less traumatic for the elderly person.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:21 am -

    Low-level and accessible cabinets are necessary both to prevent items falling and so that the person does not have to strain to reach them. Plus, sliding doors require less finger control and are easy to operate. There should also be adequate counter space with plenty of ‘elbow room’ for preparing food. An easy-care floor material such as linoleum, or vinyl is also ideal, although on slippery floor surfaces, textured strips that allow more traction should be added.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:21 am -

    To conserve energy, the homemakers indicated that a house should be one-story with installed aluminum storm windows and screens – aluminum requires the least amount of care and does not suffer from corrosion or rust. Similarly, brick or aluminum sidings minimizes the cost of exterior maintenance.

    Inside the house, draperies or curtains instead of Venetian blinds can reduce the potential for stress and maintenance. In addition, a low ceiling disposes of the need to climb on ladders and stools to access the curtains for washing.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:22 am -

    Safety first

    The following safety tips were suggested by the survey respondents:

    don’t have steps; keep everything on one level as much as possible. If steps are necessary, they need to be deep and flat for easy balance
    add color strips on any floor areas that have a variation in level
    install hand railings along stairways
    remove high doorway thresholds to avoid tripping
    install overhead lights to illuminate all areas of a room
    install extra lights where specific activities or household tasks are performed, such as cooking or reading
    install a light switch at the top and bottom of the staircase so there is good visibility both ways
    keep passageways clear and store items on tables and countertops rather than on the floor to avoid tripping
    add an extra phone jack to avoid trailing telephone wire or use a portable phone
    install shelters over entryways to protect the steps from rain and minimize potential for slipping
    install overhead lights over the entryway so any visitors can be seen
    use securing tape for rugs and mats so they don’t easily move
    install grab bars, especially by the toilet, shower and bathtubs or a bench inside the showers or bath.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:22 am -

    Safety in utility

    When it comes to fuel and water, if moving house or buying a house for an elderly relative, stick to the usual form of fuel so as to dispense with the need to re-learn a new process of use and care. Install a gas leaking detection device if gas is used. A dull sense of smell may make it difficult for the older person to detect odors associated with gas leaks.

    In addition, install a circuit breaker box rather than a fuse box. When a light goes out, it’s easier to restore electricity with a circuit breaker than to hunt for fuses. The chances of shock are far smaller when re-connecting a circuit breaker compared with replacing a fuse if standing on a damp floor.

    A low-pitch and longer-ringing doorbell and telephone should be installed. Lower tones are heard better than high tones and longer rings give those less mobile a chance to get to the phone without hurrying.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:23 am -

    The home can be a dangerous place for seniors when it isn’t adequately prepared, as the elderly are more likely to trip and fall. Unfortunately, these injuries take longer to recover as people age. However, the home can be safety proofed and these simple precautions can make a huge difference in ensuring your loved one’s safety.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:24 am -

    Your parents or elderly loved ones probably will be the last to admit that they need help. All of us want to go on living as if we’re still in the prime of life, but age sets in on all of us, some with more precarious results than others.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:25 am -

    Your parents may still, on the surface, be functioning fine in their homes, but you’ve noticed that they’re prone to forgetfulness, and worse, to physical limitations. It’s the latter that their home must be protected against, as you don’t want your parents or loved ones to suffer falls and fracture a hip or limb, which could result in their needing 24/7 care in a nursing home.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:26 am -

    Therefore, the first step in elder-proofing is to rid the home of any obstacles or surfaces that could result in trips and falls. This can be anything from a slick linoleum floor to throw rugs to low-lying furniture that can become an obstacle, creating a fall danger. Remove furniture and other items that could be roadblocks and, where possible, carpet over slick surfaces (but not with throw rugs).

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:26 am -

    The bathroom is a particularly dangerous place because of the water. You need to install holding bars around the tub and shower and even at the towel rack, so the elderly can grip and not slip. Rugs that have stick-to-the-floor bottoms are also good.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:26 am -

    Inside the tub and/or shower, it’s also a good idea to cover the bottoms with safety mats or something that provides for solid footing rather than the normal slippery surface.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:27 am -

    In the kitchen, make sure everything your parents or loved ones need is within easy reach. Remove any ladders or stools that they may want to use to reach to higher places. These stools and ladders can lead to serious injury. You also should check the refrigerator each week to make sure there’s no rotting food that your parents have neglected. In some cases, you may want to change the gas range for an electric one if your parents’ sense of smell has diminished.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:27 am -

    If your parents live in a two-story home, or a home with a basement, remember that the stairs can be a source of falls and accidents. Lock them out of the baseball and see if there’s a downstairs room that can become a bedroom. Otherwise, you may have to consider chair lifts for the stairway, and those can be pretty expensive (though not as much as a
    nursing home for the next 10 or 20 years).

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:28 am -

    Any further than has rollers on it, even a bed, should be locked in place or have the rollers taken off. Again, it’s too easy for an accident to happen when a piece of furniture takes off because of an inadvertent push or too brisk sit-down.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:28 am -

    Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide devices are musts as well. And you may want to provide your parents or loved ones with a quick means to signal for help. There are commercial devices they can wear, which can be pushed and help will be on its way. This depends, of course, on how mobile and physical capable your parents still in, but regardless of their
    physical agility, if a parent falls and breaks something and no one is around, that can be a frightening situation that could spiral out of control.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:29 am -

    If this sounds like child-proofing, it almost is except for one thing — your parents or loved ones have been independent for so long that they might resist all your efforts to help. The burden then falls on your to be persistent and insist on their safety. If need be, get professional help, but make sure your parents are safe in their home.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:31 am -

    Retirement is a great time to enjoy life – especially in your own home. But if you – or your parents – are starting to slow down, suffering from occasional imbalance or are having difficulty living safely in your home, it could limit your independence, and potentially cause you harm.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:32 am -

    Falling is the leading cause of injury and death among people 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And if you look around your home, or your loved-one’s home, you probably can find many tripping hazards, increasing the risk of a fall

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:33 am -

    Bathrooms

    Incorporate walk-in showers in your bathrooms, so you don’t have to climb over the edge of a tub. Options include shower chairs in case you need to sit down, secure hand rails and leak-free construction.
    Alternatively, there are a broad range of walk-in baths, which are versatile enough for any member of the family to use, but provide the safety equipment needed to help keep older members protected from falls.
    Get a back up medical alert button and keep it in the bathroom at all times – this is where most falls occur.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:39 am -

    Communication. Install telephones in every room, and have a cell phone always charged and accessible. You don’t want seniors running from room to room to find a phone, and potentially falling as a result.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:40 am -

    Shelves and Drawers. Switch under-counter shelves into pull-out drawers, so you or your loved one don’t have to get down on your hands and knees to find something at the rear of the cabinet. This not only helps prevent falls, but also prevents strains on the body from bending over.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:41 am -

    Lighting. Install as much extra lighting as you can around the house. This includes nightlights and extra light switches at all door entrances so nobody ends up stumbling around in the dark.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:42 am -

    Walkways
    Create safe walking passages. If loose rugs are lying around, consider removing them. Check to see if any of the flooring in your house is slippery.You might want to consider installing carpet – not only to get rid of the slippery floor, but also to keep feet warmer as well.Review the layout of each room. Keep entrances clear of lamps or furniture so someone doesn’t accidentally become bruised from bumping into them, or tripping and falling to the floor. Eliminate extension cords or other possible tripping hazards.

  • elidbugg says:

    January 17, 2014 at 3:44 am -

    It’s a great feeling to know that you have created a safe home environment for your loved ones. However, most of us do not have the expertise to identify the potential hazards or the skills or time to properly install the various devices. With our expert assessment and installation services, you gain peace of mind from seeing your specific child safety or senior safety issues are addressed by a caring safety professional.

  • oraclemay says:

    June 6, 2014 at 12:42 am -

    I am sure going to take all this information to heart and do some checking of my own. I will feel a lot better if I know that my parents are safe and secure. I don’t really know anyone who does this type of thing. I need to speak to my friends about taking these steps.

  • oraclemay says:

    June 9, 2014 at 12:38 am -

    Taking the time to chat to the elderly and to see what it is that will assist them with living, before just fitting it would be the first step. Secondly, they always have to move around on the floor – this should be the first area that is checked. Rubber matting should be placed in every area that may be potentially unsafe, especially where it may get wet. This could be in the bathroom, kitchen sink , laundry or entrances where rain might be a potential hazard.

  • oraclemay says:

    June 9, 2014 at 6:16 am -

    Our parents took care of us when we were young and now it is time to return the favor. We should be giving them every assistance. It is also better if someone does their laundry and ironing. This will ensure that they do not have to use the electrical appliances with which to do these tasks. As they grow older they often become much more fragile and should really not be using electrical appliances that may prove to be a hazard to them and others around them. Older people also tend to be more forgetful.

  • kate86 says:

    June 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm -

    You’re right about this, thanks for the tips. Anything else you can think of off hand? I think making sure the yard is taken care of important, too, otherwise they might try to do work that is not safe.

  • jmdecaro says:

    June 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm -

    I think motion sensor lights are a great addition to this list. There are mini string lights that you can purchase on Amazon for a great price that come on when someone enters the room. You can hang them under the rim of a cabinet or along the edge of a door. Small enough where they don’t intrude on the decor but strong enough to be helpful in the middle of the night.

  • Diane says:

    July 24, 2015 at 9:07 pm -

    I think grab bars in the shower are a good idea at any age. I had quite a few bruises one time after a serious slipping incident in the shower. The only thing available to grab was a tiny soap dish, and it was no help. This was despite my rubber shower mat. The reason the rubber shower mat didn’t stop me from slipping/falling, is that I had cleaned the tub just before getting in to take a shower. Because of that, the shower/tub floor was particularly slick, and the suction cups on the mat hadn’t adhered to the floor well enough. It actually made the fall worse, because I slipped not once, but several times, and the mat got tangled in my feet. What I learned is to caution everyone about this (here I am doing it again), so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

  • Diane says:

    July 24, 2015 at 9:12 pm -

    Some parents and other elderly are fiercely independent, and don’t appreciate others butting in and changing things in their homes. It can be a difficult rope to walk to try helping them without offending them. It’s important not to take away the dignity of someone who has lived a long and full life, and still has lots of life left in them, but it’s also important to keep them safe. If the person you’re caring for absolutely refuses to remove rugs from the house, there are products such as rug liners, and double stick tape, which can be used to secure the edges. If you do choose to use this type of product, do some research first, and go with the one that will provide the most secure and safe environment.

  • Angel says:

    July 28, 2015 at 9:16 am -

    As seniors, my husband and I are always on the lookout for areas and spaces in our home that can cause falls. A seemingly harmless drop of water or food particle can cause slipping.
    Despite all the precautions,accidents can still happen. I hope I can find a reference material on house accidents which seniors frequently encounter and the corresponding first aid tips. This may save someone’s life.

  • GemmaRowlands says:

    July 29, 2015 at 10:55 am -

    This is so important, yet it is something that a heck of a lot of people just don’t bother to think about in the slightest. One of the best things to think about is whether you could easily get around if you were on roller blades – if there is anything that you think you could trip over, then this might be the case for an older person on unsteady feet, so you should make sure that everything is as flat as it can possibly be. Also try to make sure that there is plenty of room to walk between work surfaces in the kitchen, and between sofas in the lounge, especially if sticks are used to aid walking. The changes that need to be made will only ever be very small ones, but they will be significant ones that could make a huge difference in the life of a senior – so it is more than worth it.

  • Selvie says:

    August 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm -

    Thank you very much for this post. It really has been an eye opener. I think that I too take it for granted that my mom is healthy and active and did not really think about all the help that she would need around the house. Actually these are preventative measures because waiting for something to happen before changing things around the house would be too late and painful.

  • Tipes99 says:

    August 19, 2015 at 12:12 am -

    This is great and probably start a new awareness group. Many people don’t realize how dangerous a fall can be for the elders. It broke my heart when I had to see my grandma be taken to the hospital because of a miss place gardening tools. Seriously, love your elders because they are like the god in your home. They have care for you, raise you, and protect you. So, in their time of vulnerability it is our job as the younger generation to take up that responsibility. Its time to pay beck a life dept that none of us could ever pay back. More people needs to read this! Become aware and take action! 🙂

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