Keeping Seniors Safe at Home
Many elders move to assisted living facilities following an accident at home such as a fall. In fact, for many, the decision is taken out of their hands once the hospital is involved and has to make certain the elder can live safely at home before discharge. Take these simple steps before an accident happens to extend the days you can spend in the comfort of your home.
1. Lighting. Something as simple as lighting can make a world of difference. I actually did this in my own house in the kitchen because I do not like leaving lights on at night, and at least one of us gets up to get a drink of water (or maybe a midnight snack). I simply purchased battery operated stick on lights (like this one) that were strategically placed under cabinets that we frequently used at night. Think about a typical day and night, and look for any areas that are not well lit. It may be a large closet/pantry that you access, then add these simple lights to avoid injuries. For hallways and stairs, there are also battery operated strip lights that you can add to help guide you to the basement or to the bathroom at night.
2. Remove Loose Area Rugs. Or at the very least, only use rugs with anti-skid backing. When I worked in an assisted living, our policy was prohibit area rugs from home. We supplied nonslip rugs for the bathrooms and nonskid shower mats for safety. I challenged this policy when a couple moved in that loved their oriental rug and I knew that it would help them feel at home. As an advocate of making our cottages feel like home, I agreed. It was only a matter of weeks before I realized what a tripping hazard it was - even with the adhesive strips we added to the bottom to make it stay in place! I also knew, the situation would only get worse as mobility decreased. While you may adore some of the decor in your home, safety is much more important. If you cannot remove such items for sentimental reasons, pass it down to a close family member or friend so that it is still enjoyed by the family.
3. Make Things Accessible. Keep the things that you use frequently where you can get to them easily. For instance, perhaps you place your glasses on the dresser every night for the past 50 years. It would be safer to keep them on your bedside table so they are available first thing when you wake up versus having to walk across the room potentially sustaining an injury. Pay close attention to the bathroom and the kitchen to make sure the things you need are within arms reach so there is no need to strain or use a step stool.
I hope you have found these simple tips helpful as you commit to making your home safer! If you would like more information on Thrive at Home and how we help elders remain in the comfort of home longer, click the contact us link below.