When there is a new addition to the family, we change the setting of the home in accordance with the needs of the little one. When the baby starts crawling, all the sharp corners of the furniture are guarded for the safety of the baby. Even the plug points within the range of the baby are packed so that she is safe from electrical shocks.
Similarly, we need to make changes in the home according to our changed requirements of safety in the golden years. With age, our vision, mobility, and memory are diminished which may result in a fall or any other accident. So, with the passing years, we need to make changes according to our physical and medical requirements to make home a safer place and ensure an independent life.
So, what should we look for?
- According to studies, a minor ground-level fall is three times riskier in people aged 70 or more and is likely to result in death. With age, the bones get weaker and brittle, apart from reduced visibility and mobility. To make the home safer for seniors, the first step is to remove all hazards which can result in a fall. This can be done by making the home well-lit. Keep the passage free of the objects which might cause a trip and fall. It is a good idea to make the home rug free as the corners of the rug or floor carpet curl up. A carpet with curled-up corners is a death trap. I would suggest not using even the foot mats. If you do not want to remove it, make sure to nail the corners to create a safe heaven for seniors at home. Also, ensure that seniors wear non-slip footwear. Change the footwear if its sole is wearing out. No delays are advised in changing the footwear. Thanks to e-commerce websites, this can be done with the click of a finger.
- The most notorious place for a fall in the home is the bathroom. Always use anti-skid tiles or flooring in the bathroom. The slop of the bathroom should be given special attention. The flow should be such that water flows down to the drain and keep the bathroom dry on its own. With the correct slop, mopping is not needed every time it is used. Also do put up grab bars and handles on the wall, which will prove to be a life saviour, in case of s slip. One usually falls in the bathroom as there is nothing to hold on to the bare walls. The idea is to have something to hold on to for safety and stability. If using the toilet is also becoming difficult, there are tools to help ease mobility problems. You can check them here.
- The social norms are changing and it is a common observation that senior citizens are at risk and soft target for antisocial elements. Make sure that there is a wire gauge door or steel/ iron door which can provide a shield against the visitor who might try to barge in and also they can see who is at the entrance door before letting him/her in. It is good to install a security system. A doorbell camera will be helpful to see who is at the gate. Use technology and let the camera view access be shared with your children, so that they can keep an eye on your safety from wherever they are in the world. Always keep doors and windows locked all the time. There is no point in keeping your guards off for the sake of safety.
- Fire when uncontrolled becomes a monster. In homes, electricity may cause a fire. To prevent fire and electricity-related accidents, discard damaged appliances. Plugging many electric chords into one socket can be risky to initiating a fire or shock. Also, keep a home extinguisher at home for your own safety.
- If due to reduced mobility, seniors are relying on external supports like sticks, crutches, handrails, walkers, wheelchairs, etc make sure to create ease of access to make life easy and independent for them.
Always remember that it takes longer for a senior to recover and bounce back from a fall as compared to a middle-aged adult. So do what it takes to create a safe home for elders at home. If you are staying alone, this is one aspect where you should not delay in taking action. If you are staying with your children and they are busy and not able to make the required changes at the earliest, take charge of the situation and do the needful. Self-care is always important and more so at this age.
Be safe, be happy!
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You can check my other posts on senior care here.