7 Ways to Make Your Home Safe for Older People

7 Ways to Make Your Home Safe for Older People

Why you should care

Senior proofing your home reduces the risk of accident and injuries.

Growing old can mean a steady decline in senses, motor skills, balance, and memory. These changes increase the risk of injury if you have senior folks at home.

Fact #1: The most common accidents involving seniors are falls, burns, and poisoning. Every year, 1 in 3 adults aged 65 and above living at home have a fall.

Fact #2: More than half the world’s older people live in Asia, with that number expected to exceed 1 billion people by the middle of the century. Here’s how you can make your home safer for you and your loved ones.

Anti-Slip Flooring

This is especially important in areas prone to wetness like the kitchen, bathroom, and pet feeding area. Opt for colourful mats with non-slip bottoms to add some pizzazz or invest in anti-slip coatings that can be applied directly to your floors and bathtubs.

anti-slip mat

SOURCE: homedepot.ca

Remove clutter and cords, and shift furniture around so that there’s enough space to walk without tripping. While you’re at it, toss out slippery scatter rugs or tape them to the floor to show them who’s boss.

Brighter Lights

Dimly lit areas can be a hazard so ensure there’s adequate lighting in hallways and stairwells. The same goes for other spots where it may be hard to see like the closet and bedside table.

You can ask or watch the older person as they navigate through the house to get a good gauge of their lighting needs.

bright lights at stairway

SOURCE: johncullenlighting.co.uk

Install switches outside entrances so there’s light before they enter a room. Better yet, get motion sensor lights that switch on when they detect movement.

Make Height Adjustments

Rearrange items and appliances that are often used so that they’re at waist level – cupboards requiring step-ladders are out of the question.

If the older person enjoys cooking or another hobby, it’s a good idea to create workspaces and countertops that can accommodate their work while seated.

Sitting and lying down are the best regardless of age, but getting up gets harder as you grow old.

To work around this, install grab bars near toilets and bathtubs, and elevate beds and chairs. You can also create a seating area in your shower if the older person prefers them.

grab bar washroom

SOURCE: archiproducts.com

Proper Handles and Grips

In addition to grab bars, hand rails along pathways can keep the older person steady as they make their way about.

Test your door handles and taps to make sure they’re easy to turn and use – experts suggest D-shaped or lever handles as they’re gentler on arthritic hands or those with limited strength.

door handle

SOURCE: archiproducts.com

Cover all bases by ensuring doors open from both the inside and outside in case something unfortunate happens.

Heat Protection

Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that alert you through lights, loud sounds, or your phone.

smoke alarm

SOURCE: digitaltrends.com

A great place to start is the kitchen – replace old appliances with temperature controlled cookware or ones that automatically shut off when you’re done.

Overheating can be an issue in older homes, so avoid using one socket for too many devices.

Labels and Indicators

Labelling is fun! Label medicine and food with instructions and expiry dates to avoid poisoning, label taps to indicate hot water and prevent scalding, and label kitchen utensils for quicker access.

You can also incorporate a chalkboard or dry erase board in your kitchen to keep track of medicine times and your favourite TV programmes’ schedule.

labelling in kitchen

SOURCE: esjhouse.com

Liven up your living space with decals and frosting on glass panels, windows, or doors that are hard to see to avoid untoward accidents. The keyword is ‘fun’ – this can simply be a chance to redecorate your space.

Tender Loving Care

Change is hard. If these precautions are for someone else, include them in the decision making process so that they feel safe and comfortable in this new home you’re building together.

If you live away from the older person, visit often! You can take this time to check appliances and safety features, but senior proofing their hearts is just as important as senior proofing their hearths.

Why you should care

Senior proofing your home reduces the risk of accident and injuries.

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