Home should be a place of comfort and safety. As time passes, however, we can become a little too comfortable in those familiar surroundings to recognize emerging safety concerns. For this reason, living safely at home can turn into a challenge for older adults.
With increasing age, vision and hearing become less acute, balance is less steady and reaction time slows. Household and personal tasks that were once easy and safe to complete can turn into difficult and dangerous activities.
Make Necessary Repairs
Make it a priority to look around your loved one's home for potential safety hazards. Take time to check that all appliances, electrical devices and outlets are in good working order. If necessary, make repairs and replacements. It's important to personally assess the situation. Your loved one may be reluctant to bring any household problems to your attention due to concerns about costs, maintaining personal independence or simply not wanting to make extra work for you.
Look for Fall Hazards
You will also want to look in and around the home for possible fall risks. Make sure that stairways, both inside and out, have sturdy railings. All entrances, halls and stairs should have good lighting.
Pay Special Attention to the Bathroom
The bathroom is another place you should inspect for safety issues. According to the National Safety Council, the bathroom is the most dangerous place in the home for older adults due to the increased risk of falls.
Here are some bathroom safety tips adapted from the National Safety Council:
- Install grab bars near the toilet.
- Use nightlights in and near the bathroom.
- Place a non-slip mat inside and outside of the tub area.
- Switch to a liquid soap dispenser to limit reaching and bending in the shower.
- Make the environment more accessible with modifications such as a shower chair, hand-held shower nozzle or a walk-in tub.
- Ensure the bathroom door opens outward in case of falls.
It is worth the extra effort to maintain a safe home environment so you and your loved ones can live your best life possible.
For additional fall prevention tips, download our “Protect Yourself Against Falls” infographic.
If you have concerns about leaving your loved one home alone, ComForCare/At Your Side Home Care can help. We offer companionship and personal care as well as assistance with light housekeeping and meal preparation. Count on us for help when you need it.