According to AARP nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes as they age, which is no surprise, but the most substantial risk and threat to living independently at home are falls. Falls lead many seniors to the emergency room which could then cause the senior to require hip surgery, broken arms, legs or compromise other health related issues.
There are a few solutions to assist you in keeping you safer in your home today and with the large selection of assisted devices appropriate for use in a personal residence, it will prevent future emergency visits as well as surgeries.
Safe entry into and out of the home is crucial for a senior. If stairs are present and the senior’s mobility is apparent in strength, hand rails can be installed to match the homes décor that offer added stability. All surfaces need to be non-slip and if not should be changed to surfaces that are. This can be achieved by applying a non-slip surface over the existing area. When stairs are a challenge, stair chair lifts, platforms lifts and elevators are all options limited only by individual budget. Basic ramping installed with a non-slip surface offers another option.
When a pool is present in the home an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) pool lift can make all the difference in safely entering and leaving the pool.
Bathrooms are where the majority of accidents that occur more frequently than any other place in the home and as a result, walk in tubs and showers have become very popular. A walk in curb-less shower allows for access without needing to step over a curb. There are bath tubs that have been modified by actually cutting through the middle of the bathtub so the senior can easily get in and out safely.
Bathtub grab bars offer added support as well as shower chairs with your choice of handles on both sides or without handles
Toilet lifts, which are placed on top of the toilet or commodes that are rolled over the toilet(can be also used as a commode with a removable basin to be able to use in the bedroom as well) with bars offer safe transferring on and off toilet. If the senior only requires a minor boost when sitting or standing, a bar can be placed on the wall next to the toilet to assist with stability.
In the kitchen area, check drawers so the senior can easily slide or pull open without pulling too hard, ensure small area rugs are secure so they do not slip around in the kitchen(or bathroom including rugs curling upward in the entire home). When reach is an issue adjustable height kitchen cabinets are an option. If sitting is necessary while cooking a height adjustable sink and adjustable height cook tops are all options. Here again an experienced certified kitchen designer can assist you with all the options available today. When placing your loved one in a Senior Assisted Living or board and care home, look for modifications to keep your loved one safer.
In my experience in conducting home visits, I have come across small coffee tables with sharp edges, glass and wood. Some seniors have had serious injuries to the head due to having difficulty with transferring from the sofa to a standing position which at times, causes them to lose their balance and fall towards the coffee tables.
A home that is safe for a senior will save some of the worrying and visits to the emergency room leading to hospitalizations.