If you’re caring for a senior in your home, their safety and accessibility are your top priorities. Unfortunately, your home might not be equipped to meet their needs, and even worse, your loved one could suffer a serious accident.
Preparing your home before your elderly guest arrives to rest and recuperate is critical to ensure they are both comfortable and safe. Here are a few things you can do in every room of your home to make it safer and more accessible.
It’s estimated that one in four elderly people suffer a fall annually. Many of these falls happen inside the bathroom, and it is often the one place that seniors or other individuals are at their most vulnerable.
Making the bathroom as secure and safe as possible is a top priority. Here are a few bathroom upgrades and additions that can help prevent an unnecessary and potentially devastating slip-and-fall accident:
- Upgrade your faucets. If the faucet handles in your sink and shower turn, they can be difficult for seniors to use. Lever-style handles are easier to operate.
- Install grab bars in key spots. Hang grab bars or rails in key locations throughout your bathroom, including inside the shower and next to the toilet.
- Purchase nonslip mats and rugs. Lay nonslip mats or rugs anywhere that gets wet or where a senior could slip. This includes both inside and outside of the tub or shower.
- Raise the toilet’s height. If your toilet is low to the ground, getting off and on can be difficult. Purchasing a higher toilet or installing a raised toilet seat are two options.
- Make everything accessible. Place everything the senior might need on lower shelves or anywhere that is easily accessible.
If your loved one is having trouble getting in and out of the bathtub, a bath seat or bench is a good option. Choose a model that is long enough to allow the senior to sit in the tub and slide out of it, thus reducing the need to step over the bathtub wall.
The kitchen is another place your houseguest will frequent, and making it safer and more accessible will help them feel more welcome and able to care for themselves. For example, adding extra lighting in the main area and throughout can help make it easier for seniors with vision problems to prepare and cook food.
A brighter overhead light and lights placed inside cabinets or near the refrigerator are a few options.
If your houseguest is in a wheelchair, making everything they will need accessible is of great importance. For example, place the microwave on the counter instead of over the oven and provide clearance under the sink.
A simple way to make your kitchen safer is to provide as much open space as possible. This will make it easier for a senior in a wheelchair to get around and will eliminate tripping hazards.
There are several bedroom upgrade options available that will help any senior not only stay safe but also stay able to care for themselves. Caring for oneself includes performing simple, everyday tasks many people take for granted, such as dressing themselves or putting on shoes.
Here are a few items you can include in the bedroom that will give any senior more freedom:
- For the bed. Installing bed rails will make it easier for a senior to get out of bed and may prevent a fall. If your house guest is incontinent, also purchase several plastic mattress covers or underpads.
- Purchase an overbed table. For seniors who will be spending a lot of time in bed or simply like to relax on a Sunday morning, an overbed table is an ideal purchase. An overbed table will allow the senior to eat or use their laptop in bed.
- Organize the closet. Install low cabinets or lower the closet bar to a more accessible height. Taking these steps are especially important if your house guest is in a wheelchair.
- Install grab bars and rails. Install a rail or grab bar anywhere the senior will need assistance standing or sitting, such as near a chair or near the bed.
There are several tools available that will make dressing much easier for a senior. For example, a reacher allows the senior to grab a shirt off the hanger with greater ease. It will also come in handy to pick up items from the floor or grab something off a high shelf in any room of the house.
A zipper puller, shoehorn, and sock aid are also inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that will allow your house guest to dress themselves with greater ease.
From installing grab bars in the tub to providing aids that allows a senior to dress themselves, there are several ways you can make your home safer and more accessible. You can find many of these products on our website. If you have any questions about these products, contact the professionals at Corner Home Medical.
Additional Resource – Age-in-place home improvement information guide: Helpful Resource Guide