Given the option, most seniors wouldn’t elect to go to a nursing home. Our homes are our homes, where everything is familiar and things are more comfortable.
But even though home is where the heart is, it’s not always the safest option for maturing adults. Between safety hazards and isolation, staying at home can prove challenging for those who just want to keep their loved ones safe. That’s why we’ve compiled our best tips for making your aging parents’ home safer.
Eliminate Tripping Hazards
Falling is a real risk for seniors, with the CDC reporting as many as three million adults age 65 or older receiving treatment for injuries sustained from falls every year. Preventing falls starts by taking steps to make the floors less slippery and identifying tripping hazards, such as:
- Loose rugs
- Pets or pet toys
- Uneven bathtubs
- Low toilets
- Tangled wires
- Uneven floors
- Driveway cracks
Along with removing things that may cause falls, you can also add home features to help your parents catch themselves, like railings.
Evaluate the Stairs
Navigating the stairs can prove troublesome as your body gets older. This is especially true if your parents are living in an older home. While you can’t exactly get rid of the staircase, you can take steps to make it easier to get around. For example:
- Refinish the stairs, identifying loose boards
- Remove stair runners
- Paint the steps alternating colors
- Make sure the railing is secure
- Increase stairwell lighting
In serious scenarios, you can add a chair lift. Or you can move the bedroom and most daily activities into downstairs rooms if the house’s architecture allows for it.
When you have full mobility, you don’t always notice when things aren’t accessible. But when you take the time to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you start to notice the little things: everyday items that are on a high shelf or a furniture arrangement that doesn’t allow easy wheelchair access.
Take time to walk through your parent’s daily routine, identifying where they go and what they need. It may make it easier to notice when you need to adjust the furniture or organize things to make the home more accessible.
Enlist Outside Help
Other people can help when there’s an emergency. When it comes to making your senior parents’ home safer, sometimes, the best thing you can add is a list of emergency contacts, such as neighbors who can come help when you can’t.