Home is where we feel safe, our comfort zone. Making sure home remains a safe place for our loved ones as they age requires looking around for potential hazards.
Seniors are especially at risk for falls. Weakening muscles and stiff joints make it difficult to step over obstacles, failing eyesight makes it difficult to see obstacles and failing depth perception makes it difficult to judge the differences in levels. Look around the walking areas around your house, if you have rugs or mats lying on the ground they should be rolled up and stored away. Any electrical cords or cables should be moved out-of-the-way. Clutter lying around should be picked up and put away, especially on or around any steps. Try walking around shuffling your feet, anything your feet trip up on will be something that could cause your loved one to take a bad fall. You should make sure that all walking areas are free from obstructions and clutter so your loved one can pass easily without having to twist and turn.
Hand rails and grab bars are helpful near steps, even if it’s just one step. In the bathroom you should consider getting a toilet seat riser and/or grab bars. Grab bars in the bath or shower are also very helpful. If your loved one has trouble with balance or standing for any length of time a shower chair would be a good investment. Also consider putting in anti-slip devices in the shower or bath floor.
Make sure your loved one wears shoes or slippers with anti-slip soles while in the house. If they prefer to walk around in just socks get them some socks with the grippy soles like they give you in the hospital.
If you have any rips or tears in your carpet consider getting the carpet replaced or repaired, putting a throw rug over it will only cause more of a potential trip hazard.
If your loved one has dementia, consider putting ‘child-proof’ latches on any cupboards or cabinets with sharp objects, appliances with heating elements or cleaning supplies.
Make sure all medicines are stored away in a safe place and any out of date medications or old prescriptions are disposed of properly.