Falls are the leading cause of injury death among adults over 65. Remember to re-organize your home with safety in mind. A visiting nurse or other professional can conduct a home safety check and suggest adaptive technology for your specific needs.
Here are some tips on what you can do right now and what you can do for a long-term solution.
- Encourage your senior to exercise. Better mobility and strength can help prevent falls. A visiting nurse or caregiver can conduct a home safety check and suggest adaptive technology for your specific needs.
- Make sure there’s proper lighting in each area of your home. Installing brighter bulbs or adding more lamps can go a long way toward preventing falls.
Install motion-sensor light switches or night lights in hallways and stairway.
Install wireless electronic switches, switch extensions, or the Clapper to make it easy to turn lights on and off from bed or the couch.
Make sure the porches and walkway to the garage or street have lighting. Make sure window shades and blinds are easy to open and close.
- Relegate unused items and furniture to storage or donate them to open spaces.
- Clean up clutter, like cords on the floor or anything else someone might trip over.
- Install non-slip mats under your rugs and remove loose throw rugs. Rug tape can help.
- Try to keep pets out of areas when they might accidentally knock someone over or trip them.
- In the bathroom add non-stick mats to the shower and bathroom floor. Add a shower bench and toilet seat riser.
- For long-term investments install an extra-high toilet. Replace your current tub with a curbless shower or walk-in tub, install grab bars around the toilet and tub.
- To ensure access build a handicap ramp if your front door has steps.
- Make sure more that one exit is wheelchair-accessible in case of an emergency.
- Check that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
- Make your new home comfortable. Start re-decorating with plants and family photos.
Creating an accessible home isn’t always easy, but it is a huge asset. There are various programs that provide financial assistance for home modifications, including Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, HUD (programs differ by state), and a number of non-profits.