How Can You Make Your Home Safer?
Falls are still the most frequent and serious type of accident in people aged 65 and over. Falls destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence. A fall can hasten a move into residential care. After a hip fracture, 50 per cent of people can no longer live independently.
Here are some simple suggestions, room by room, to make your home safer. Most safety products are available online at many retailers including www.springchicken.co.uk
Most of those accidents take place at home — a slip in the bathtub, a trip on an unanchored throw rug, a spill caused be a cat underfoot.
- Buy a safety seat or transfer bench for the bath. This may straddle the bath and will allow an elderly guest to sit on one side and slide over to the other. Bath chairs are also available for people who are unsteady on their feet. Buy a lightweight seat that’s easy to move.
- If your bathroom doesn’t have grab bars, you can buy an easy-to-install adjustable bar that clamps to the edge of the bath.
- The most welcome mat in your home is a non-slip one on the bottom of your bath. You also can use bath strips.
- Don’t use oily bath products if you’ll be sharing the bathroom with your guest. These can leave behind a slippery residue.
- Use plug-in night lights in each bedroom, in hallways and in bathrooms to provide a clear path for late-night bathroom visits. (Make sure there’s one in the kitchen, too.)
- Position lamps near guests’ beds. Leave flashlights with fresh batteries on bedside tables to provide extra light.
- Make clear there’s no smoking in bedrooms.
Living room and family room
- Arrange furniture to create clear, easy-to-navigate paths throughout rooms. Put items that are low to the ground, such as magazine racks and coffee tables, out of the line of traffic to help prevent falls or bumping injuries.
- Remove clutter, electrical cords, pet toys and other paraphernalia and anything else on the floor that might cause a fall.
- Use double-sided tape or non-stick carpet mesh to keep throw rugs in place. Loose rugs and runners are a major cause of falls.
- If the treads are bare, consider installing non-slip rubber stair treads for better footing. Make sure they’re securely attached with adhesive, staples or carpet tacks.
- Mark the edges of the stops or small changes in floor elevation with fluorescent adhesive tape for the length of the visit.
- Be very careful with pets in the main room where your relative is as they often may result in someone tripping over the animal. Your pet may be free to roam the rest of the year, but during a brief holiday visit by older relatives, consider confining them to one room.
Ultimately staying healthy and exercising improves muscle strength and helps prevent falls.
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