Handbook Of Life
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8 best ways to make your home safer for elderly family members

Making sure older individuals are secure at home is important to maintain their quality of life. Here are 8 effective ways to make your home safer for them to live in.

Making sure older individuals are secure at home is important to maintain their quality of life. Preventing the risk of injuries and deaths at home among ageing family members is key to their long and fulfilling life at home.

Here are a few smart ways to make your home safer for them to live in. Take a look.

1. Install enough lights

According to a study, older adults are at a higher risk of falling from stairs, getting tangled in electric wires, or losing balance due to loose rugs in the presence of poor or insufficient lighting.

Therefore, if you are living with an elderly person, it is important to install enough lights for their convenience. Also, some older adults have eye and mobility-related issues that cause them problems in seeing things and moving, thus leading them to accidents.

2. Remove fire hazards from the home

In case of a fire, an elderly person might not be able to react as quickly or move as swiftly as is necessary to get out of the home, so it’s important to reduce the chances of a fire taking hold in the first place and stock the home with warning devices. The first layer of defense is a collection of smoke detectors, located in the kitchen, bedrooms, and near appliances. The batteries should be changed twice a year; many people choose to change them when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends. Test them regularly and respond promptly when they sound. Adding a fire extinguisher to the kitchen and on each floor of the home is also a good idea, but especially for the elderly, the best thing to do in a fire is to exit the home promptly and then call 911.

Other fire home safety tips have to do with prevention. Check all appliances for frayed cords and functioning emergency shutoffs, and consider having an electrician come in to assess the condition of electrical outlets and service. Then make sure extension cords aren’t strung together and outlets aren’t overfilled to avoid electrical shorts and overheating.

The last element of fire safety is the resident’s habits and practices. Avoid wearing loose clothing when cooking, lest it catch on a flame. Avoid smoking in bed or leaving candles unattended, and be sure that any space heaters are at least 3 feet away from soft furnishings to avoid accidental blazes.

3. Pay special attention to safety concerns in the bathroom and the kitchen areas

First, it’s worth checking the water’s temperature, which should be at or below 120 degrees to ensure that if the hot water is turned on without mixing with cold, it won’t result in a scald or burn.

Bathrooms and kitchens have two things in common: hard floors and water. These make for a dangerous combination. There’s a certain risk regardless of what safety measures are put in place, but a few steps can help reduce the chances of injury. Bathtubs, showers, and bathroom floors should have nonslip or textured surfaces that keep floors from getting slick when they’re wet. This can be accomplished by installing no-slip strips to the floor and adding grab bars to the walls of the tub or shower to provide a secure handhold when stepping out of the shower. And if the resident is having trouble getting in or out of the tub or maintaining balance in the tub, consider adding a shower seat so that showers can be a pleasant chance to relax instead of fraught with concern over a fall. Equally important is ensuring that bath mats have non-skid rubber backing so they don’t slide across the floor when they’re stepped upon. If falls are a particular concern, consider adding adhesive padding to corners or sharp edges.

Depending on the situation, replacing the toilet with a taller model that reduces the leg strength necessary to sit and stand can be very helpful, along with adding a sturdy grab bar alongside. Decorative grab bars are available that are disguised as towel bars, so there’s no need for an industrial-grade bar that announces its presence to visitors.

Kitchens present several challenges. Nonslip flooring is ideal, but if replacing all the flooring isn’t possible, using nonslip rubber mats in front of the sink and stove will help, especially if they’re flat and not trip hazards themselves. If the elderly person is in a wheelchair, consider installing a range with controls located on the front edge instead of the back so there’s no need to reach across hot burners to adjust the temperature.

Cabinets and storage are another concern. Especially if the cabinets run to the ceiling, look for options to retrofit them so that there’s plenty of available storage space that doesn’t require a step stool or stepladder to access. Pullout shelves installed in existing lower cabinets can reduce the need to bend and reach into deep recesses and make cooking and cleanup easier and more comfortable.

4. Larger corridors and doors

If you have elderly parents who use wheelchairs, make sure the doorways are at least 32-34 inches wide and the corridors are 42 inches wide. Even if the elderly does not currently have mobility problems, it is a good idea to be ready for the future challenges. Eliminate doorway thresholds wherever you can, as they may cause tripping hazards.

5. Easier entrances

Old doorknobs may get rusted and can cause difficulties in opening. If the doors in your home have old and rusted doorknobs, replace them with modern and new ones. Also, replacing the doorknobs with levers could be a good idea, as they are simpler for elderly parents to use. In the case of glass sliding doors, make sure they are easy to open and are lightweight.

6. Eliminate stairs

Architect the home for your elderly parent in such a way that most of the areas are on one level. Try to eliminate the steps as much as possible. If it cannot be avoided, remodel the house and add a bathroom and sleeping space on the first floor. A stair lift can also be an alternative as per the comfort of your family members.

7. Avoid the rugs

If there are rugs on the floor in their space of movement, try to remove them all, if feasible. If the rugs cannot be removed, make sure their edges are tightly secured to prevent trips. Make plenty of space for their free movement. Don’t forget to install some of the indoor plants that help cheer them and detox the house.

8. Assess the bedroom for potential hazards

Bedrooms tend to collect furniture and clutter, which is not ideal for older adults trying to navigate at night. Adding some low lighting is a great first step to making the bedroom safer, as is purging the room of unnecessary objects and adding easy-to-access storage.

To Conclude

Always remember that prevention is better than cure. Elderly are vulnerable and it is always better to make some adjustments at home to make them comfortable.