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How to adapt your home for safety

Most homeowners want to stay in their homes as they age.

As we age, we need to work on prevention and make changes to our lifestyle and living space to ensure a safe living environment. We want to remain independent and therefore need to adapt our living environment to prevent injuries and reduce falls.

These steps, when combined with home care support, help guide seniors to age in place safely & comfortably as long as possible.

 

Trip hazards 

Area rugs, electrical cords, low tables, ottomans & kid’s toys are trip & fall risks.

Carpeted floors are much harder to maneuver walkers on. Carpets are also a great source of dust collection that may have a negative effect on your respiratory system. 

 

Safe bathroom grab bars 

Falls usually occur during the night or as you rush to the washroom with nothing to hold onto. If you have a difficult time, the market has a variety of bars that can be installed for your convenience. The bars are also handy in your shower or tub to provide safety. 

 

Bathrooms 

Invest in a higher toilet to save you from sitting down too low, or invest in a toilet seat riser. Some of the specialty stores may carry bars to be installed on the toilet for you to pull on as you are getting up or down. Remove your tub and replace the space with a walk-in shower, and at the same time install bars.

An important tip to remember: if you are right or left-handed or if you have a weaker side to work with, invest in a shower chair that can be used to sit on in the event you need to.

A non-slip shower mat is important for your shower and one for the washroom floor as you exit your shower.

Remember that the towel rack is not safe to be used as a grab bar!

Seating 

Table and Chairs need to be walker/wheelchair accessible.

If you need soft seats invest in a fabric that does not absorb moisture and can be easily wiped down.

Invest in lighter furniture that you can move around.

At the entrance have a small bench to sit on to change your shoes and a shoe shelf to access your shoes without too much bending. 

Flooring 

If you are making changes to flooring in your house, invest in easily wipeable floors.

Be careful about small steps going up or down and make sure you have a rail to hold onto.

The same applies to outdoor spaces ensuring the sidewalk or a path is even without gaps and raised areas that could be a tripping hazard. 

 

Call alerts 

If living in the house with others, have a small desk bell available to let others know you need help.

When living alone at home, it is wise to invest into another type of alert connected with family mobile will alert them you need help. Ensure that the senior is wearing it at all times except in the shower

For those seniors who sometimes wonder away or have short-term memory deficits, a GPS tracking system is available for locating purposes. 

 

Lighting 

Another fall hazard is poor lighting.

Either the switches are not handy, difficult to reach, or are burned out. By installing smart lights or motion sensors, you are ensuring a safe path to your destination. 

Medications 

We all collect medications over time and leave them for “just in case”. Declutter your medicine cabinets or have your family member dispose of the old supplies.

Only have the current meds necessary for you to take. The best way to find out if medications are taken is by having your pharmacy blister pack them.

Your pharmacy works directly with your doctor and will deliver your medications to your home.

On visiting with seniors, the family often finds the medications are not taken as prescribed.

There are several options available to ensure medication compliance and the best option should be selected between family and pharmacy. If that does not work, Home Care services need to be considered. 

 

Make space in your home 

We all hang onto different pieces of furniture that hold an important meaning to us.

Many seniors hold a meeting with family members to give away their heirloom collections, and some pieces are disposed of through donations to various charities.

The end result is creating necessary space in your home and ensuring safety for your planned aging in place. 

As your needs change 

As seniors age, the ability to perform activities of daily living often declines.

Safety checks and adaptive devices may assist with physical safety challenges.

Assistance with health care and activities of daily living may also become necessary.

  • This is when a call to a Home Care agency becomes the next step to support aging in place.

  • Choose an agency with trained and experienced staff to be part of your life to assist you to live independently in your home. 

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