Falls pose a serious health threat to seniors, and six out of ten falls occur in a home environment. As more and more seniors opt to age at home, away from easily available medical professionals and equipment, home safety is quickly becoming top of mind for many seniors and their families. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to make a home safer for seniors and help prevent falls. Here are our top tips for senior fall prevention at home, organized by the areas of the residence that may need attention.
- Lighting. As we age, our eyes have more trouble adjusting to shifts in lighting, so lighting throughout the home should remain fairly consistent to help a senior safely navigate. Blinds or curtains should be placed over windows during the day to reduce glare, and special attention should be paid to hallways and staircases, where lighting is sometimes insufficient.
- Entryways. Foyer areas can be surprisingly hazardous. Minimize the risks of entryways by installing non-slip flooring just inside the front door, and making sure that metal strips are securely wedged between outer and inner floor surfaces. If the front entrance features stairs, install handrails on either side of the stairs and then cover the steps with a weather-resistant, non-slip material.
- Bathrooms. Senior falls occur most commonly in the bathroom, which is especially hazardous with its hard flooring and slick surfaces. Modifications will depend on the senior’s individual comfort and needs, but it’s a great idea to start with grab bars around the toilet, a padded toilet seat, non-slip bath strips, a bathmat outside the tub, and maybe a tub seat and a handheld shower head as well. Some seniors may also benefit from a magnified mirror, soap dispensers, and grabbing tools. Each step taken to make a senior more comfortable in his or her bathroom is a step taken towards keeping the senior safer and more independent.
- Stairs. Any stairs in or around a senior’s home should have a comfortable step depth of between 10 and 12 inches, and handrails should be installed on either side of the stairs. The surface of the stairs should be either made of a non-slip material or well-secured carpeting. Crucially, light switches should be available at either end of the stairs, ensuring a senior is never navigating stairs in the dark.
- Kitchens. Heavy items should be moved to waist-high shelving for easy lifting, and a step stool with a bracing bar should be placed near higher shelves. Lazy Susans and sliding shelves are especially senior-friendly installations to consider.
- Common Areas. Consider rearranging furniture so there are straight lines to walk through the house instead of many twists and turns. All throw rugs should be removed, and don’t forget to keep all electrical cords tucked securely out of the way.
To learn more about home safety and senior fall prevention, reach out to the experts at Aware Senior Care through our online contact form or over the phone at (919) 436-1871. We’re available at your convenience to perform an in-home consultation and discuss safety modifications. We can also pair you with an in-home caregiver to help the senior you love age safely and with dignity in the comfort of home. Our dedication to compassionate, professional home care services has made us the premier provider of senior home care and memory care in Apex, NC and the surrounding areas.