Seniors face a variety of health challenges, but one that may not be addressed enough is safety around the home. A study released last year found an estimated one-third of homes lacked a senior-friendly entrance, bathroom, toilet or shower. Many of these issues can lead to injury.
Some simple changes can help improve the health and safety of your aging loved ones. Here are four things you can do to improve safety around your loved one’s home:
Bathtub or Shower
Keep the sink and tub areas clean and free of clutter. Install adjustable showerheads so that residents can access the water easily. If your senior gets too close to a shower head or water, there is a risk they could get hurt. If they try to shower on their own and fall in, that can be fatal.
Be sure to remove bath mats that collect water from a shower. These can be extremely dangerous for anyone who has limited mobility and tends to slip. There are also falls that occur if your senior can’t reach their toilet or get their feet wet. Use an up-and-over toilet seat that fits over the toilet seat, so the seat doesn’t move or fall into the toilet.
Clean and Safe
Keep the room well-ventilated. Unplug or turn off any electric devices that may pose a danger if knocked over and secure heavy or flimsy furniture that could tip over easily.
Fix loose rugs and install new rugs, to prevent slipping. Use rounded edges and seat liners; vents and pipes should be properly sealed.
Install Safety Devices
The number of people having accidents in bathrooms due to them falling or having dizzy spells or choking on food was increasing. Learn about and purchase items that can improve safety. Install grab bars for bathroom countertops, shower seat attachments for shower doors and shower seats to make it easier for an elderly person to safely stand in the shower.
Install portable, easy-to-use locking bathroom drawers that do not allow access to items like medications or other supplies, and that can be locked from the outside without having to use a key. Install larger cabinets in the bathroom so that medications and other items can be stored within reach and easily accessible.
Try to install a door alarm with an audible alarm, safety window and self-closing latch. Install easy-to-access smoke alarms in bedrooms and bathrooms.
While shower safety is important, so is preparing for a fall if you have a senior in your home. Having a emergency toolbox in bathroom is a must, common things to keep in medical toolbox include: a blood pressure cuff, Carriers for personal items, Carries for medications and first aid kits.
Lastly, it’s important to always talk to your older loved one about these issues and go over the tips with them, particularly if there are changes or improvements you’d like to see in your home. Seniors will also appreciate any reminder to stay safe around the home.