Each year, many elderly people are treated in hospital for fall injuries with stairs, bathtubs, furniture, carpeting and other products seniors live with and use every day. Many of these accidents could be prevented.
It is estimated that simple modifications to the interior of the house can cut a mature adults risk of falling in half. Changes in furniture arrangement, housekeeping, bathroom safety and lighting will definitely help reduce the risk of falling at home. Home Safety for Seniors is an important priority in the care and safeguarding required for our elderly loved ones.
The bathroom is one of the most hazardous places in the home for accidents by the elderly. The majority of broken hips are the result of slipping in the shower/bathtub. There are many bathroom accidents each year and a large number of older adults need special assistance in bathing.
ELDERLY BATHROOM ACCIDENTS
Install grab bars on the bathroom walls near the toilet and along the bathtub or shower used by seniors.
Place a slip-resistant rug adjacent to the bathtub for safe exit and entry.
Mount a liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub/shower wall.
Place nonskid adhesive textured strips on the bathtub/shower floor.
A universal bath bench can be used in the bathroom by seniors to provide additional stability and comfort for bathing and transition in and out of the bath/shower.
Elders should stabilize themselves on the toilet by using either a raised seat or a special toilet seat with armrests.
Replace glass shower enclosures with non-shattering material.
Place night lights between the bathroom and bedroom to help elders move safely at night.
Make sure light switches are at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
Provide enough light for the elderly to see each step and the top and bottom landings.
Keep flashlights nearby in case of a power outage.
Install handrails on both sides of the stairway and be sure to use them.
Do not leave objects on stairways.
Consider installing motion detector lights, which turn on automatically and light your stairway.
Put nonslip treads on each bare-wood step.
Do not use patterned, dark, or deep-pile carpeting. Solid colors show the edges of steps more clearly.
Do not place loose area rugs at the bottom or top of stairs.
Repair loose stairway carpeting or boards immediately.
Arrange furniture to create clear pathways between rooms that seniors use.
Remove low coffee tables, magazine racks, footrests, and plants from pathways in rooms.
Install easy-access light switches at entrances to rooms, so the elderly won’t have to walk into a darkened room in order to turn on the light. Glow-in-the-dark switches can be helpful.
Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape or slip-resistant backing. Recheck these rugs periodically.
Keep electric, appliance, and telephone cords out of seniors' pathways, but don’t put cords under a rug.
Eliminate wobbly chairs, ladders, and tables.
Keep a folding cane within reach if your loved one feels less well balanced and needs something to steady them.
Older people should sit in a chair or on a sofa that is not so low that it is difficult to stand up.
Place carpeting over concrete, ceramic, and marble floors to lessen the severity of injury if you fall.
Repair loose wooden floorboards immediately.
Remove throw rugs. These are a dangerous risk for slipping and falling for seniors.
Immediately clean up any liquid, grease, or food spilled on the floor.
Store food, dishes, and cooking equipment at easy-to-reach waist-high level.
Older people should not stand on chairs or boxes to reach upper cabinets. Use only a step stool with handrail.
Repair loose flooring.
Use nonskid floor wax.
Clear clutter from the floor.
Place a lamp and flashlight near your elder’s bed.
Again, install night-lights along the route between the bedroom and the bathroom.
Use a bed that is easy for your older loved one to get into and out of.
Keep a telephone near the senior’s bed.
Smoke detectors should be installed in the home of the elderly and checked periodically to be sure that they work. Fires in the homes of seniors are more deadly than all others, and the fire death risk is twice the average population.
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For elderly people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Each year, nearly one third of older adults experience a fall. The majority of falls occur at home and most fractures reported by older adults are the result of a fall. Falls can lead to a tragic loss of an older person’s independence and mobility.
A cluttered house presents trip hazards for senior citizens unsteady on their feet. Move out some furniture and open up pathways and hallways so that rooms can be navigated safely and without fear of falling.
2. REMOVE THROW RUGS
Rugs can slip, slide, and trip an elderly person. Small rugs can also impede a walker or cane moving across the floor. It's safest to remove these from their home altogether.
3. PURCHASE NON-SKID SHOWER/BATH MATS
Prevent an accidental fall in the bathtub or shower stall as they are slippery when wet.
4. INSTALL HANDRAILS ON STAIRCASES
Handrails are necessary to provide the elderly with some added support while climbing up and down stairs.
5. INSTALL GRAB-BARS
Accidents happen in the bathroom. Installing grab bars near the toilet and shower/bathtub will help a senior citizen keep balance. Grab bars may also be helpful in halls and at the top of a stair case.
6. BUY A PORTABLE PHONE OR MEDI-ALARM
For senior citizens a cell phone or portable phone is a must. Portable phones fit nicely into pockets and can be carried throughout the house or outdoors, where they can be used in case of a fall, or push-button to alert ambulance.
7. BRIGHTEN UP THE HOUSE
Vision diminishes with age. Rooms that appear bright to one person can seem dark to the elderly. Replace 40 watt bulbs with higher wattage energy saving bulbs which provide better lighting while continuing to save them money.
8. INSTALL SMOKE ALARMS
Install smoke alarms in bedrooms, the kitchen, and in hallways.
9. INCREASE SECURITY
Install dead bolt locks on exterior doors. Check windows for broken latches, ensure entire house is secured properly.
10. INSTALL A WHEELCHAIR RAMP
Homes multilevel or above ground are difficult to access and exit with wheelchair or walker. If elderly person has difficulty walking, then install a wheelchair ramp. Ramps should comply with safety regulations and standards.
Aids and Accessories
Comfort and Security