Senior-Proofing Your Home for a Long and Happy Life
For many seniors, living independently in our homes for as long as possible is very important. Studies show that aging at home keeps the elderly healthier, stronger, and improves cognitive awareness during the aging process.
There are two main concerns, however, that seniors face as you age: decreasing mobility and memory. Falls are among the leading causes of serious injuries in older adults, and can result in hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or back injuries, and can have serious effects on overall quality of life. Decreasing memory concerns, such as early-stage dementia, can also be reason for genuine concern. If your home is not equipped to effectively address these concerns, you could end up being at greater risk of injury or harm. Adapting for these common problems could add years to your time at home.
To help improve the quality and length of independent living at home, here are some tips for senior-proofing your home.
Minimize the Risk of Falls for Seniors with Mobility Issues
- Create clear walking paths around the home. Get rid of unused furniture, baskets on the floor, or other items that might be tripping hazards. When slower reaction times and mobility issues are a concern, one of the first things to be done is to identify and eliminate obvious hazards.
- Keep rugs secured. Eliminate transition rugs or use double-stick tape to hold down the edges that often tend to roll and curl. Using non-slip mats underneath rugs also help keep them from sliding or bunching up.
- Install extra lighting. Visibility is reduced with minimal lighting. This can be a concern for seniors when they move around at night or in the early morning. Have table lamps that can be turned on easily. Add nightlights or accent lights along hallway baseboards. Include under-cabinet lights for the kitchen that can be kept on 24/7.
- Adapt your bathroom. Include sturdy handrails in the bathroom next to the toilet and inside the bath or shower to provide ease of movement for seniors. Walk-in tubs are also great because they are easy to get in and out of with little effort, provide necessary seating, and are equipped with hand-held shower heads to make bathing more comfortable.
- Transition main living needs to one floor if possible. For aging adults, going up and down stairs can become difficult. Try rearranging the main floor of the house to accommodate all living essentials. Can you move the laundry room out the basement? Is there a bathroom or bedroom on the main level for easy access? If these accommodations cannot be made, it might be a good idea to consider relocating to a new home that can provide the essentials for independent living one floor.
Keeping the Home Safe for Seniors with Memory Issues
- Stay away from patterns that are loud or busy. Busy patterns on curtains, furniture or artwork and realistic looking decor can often be a cause of agitation, confusion or fear.
- Keep cleaning supplies locked away. Some cleaning chemicals could easily be confused for a favorite beverage or food for elderly individuals.
- Keep the refrigerator clean. Be sure that expired foods are thrown away and that left overs don’t sit too long on the shelf. Spoiled food that is accidentally eaten could cause food poisoning or illness.
- Remove the locks on bedroom doors and bathrooms. This will help eliminate the chance of accidentally getting locked into a room.
At Canadian Safe Step Tubs, it’s our goal to help seniors remain happy and healthy as they age in their own homes. Our walk-in tubs are one of the most practical additions to any senior’s home can lead to a safer, happier, independent life. Visit our website to learn more: www.safesteptubs.ca.