For most seniors, aging in place can make getting older much more pleasant. They can maintain their independence and enjoy the familiarity and comfort of their own surroundings. However, a few modifications may be necessary to prevent falls and other safety issues. If you have a senior loved one who is determined to stay at home as he or she ages, there are some things you can do to make sure the house is as safe as possible.
1. Clear the Pathways
One of the most important things you can do for your loved one is to make a clear path throughout each room of the house, which may include removing clutter from the floor or rearranging the furniture to create bigger walkways. The straighter and clearer the path, the easier it is to get from room to room. Being able to navigate the house safely is especially important for seniors with mobility issues who may use a cane or walker to get around.
Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Milwaukee seniors can depend on.
2. Add Lighting
The pathways in the house should also be well lit. Consider adding lighting near pathways in dark hallways, on stairs, or in rooms that do not get much natural light during the day. For nighttime, the path between your loved one’s bedroom and bathroom should have plenty of lighting to make late-night trips easier to navigate. Consider adding lamps or smart lighting to bedside tables, as well as next to recliners and other places where your loved one spends a lot of time. This way, he or she can turn lights on and off without having to get up and walk through a dark room.
3. Check for Loose Rugs and Mats
Carpets, mats, and rugs are some of the top tripping hazards in any home. Survey your loved one’s home to see if there are any that are frayed or loose around the edges. Consider replacing them with something in better shape or removing them completely. If removing the rugs aren’t an option, make sure the edges are tacked to the floor in some manner to prevent the sides and corners from becoming dangerous.
4. Make Sure Smoke Detectors Are Working
Seniors are at an increased risk of dying in fires compared to other age groups. For this reason, working smoke detectors are more important in their homes than ever. Test the alarms in your loved one’s home regularly, and change the battery as needed. Make sure there are enough detectors in the house to cover all rooms.
Professional caregivers can help seniors stay safe. Families looking for top-rated Milwaukee home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
5. Add Bars and Handles to the Bathroom
While a nonslip mat can prevent your loved one from falling in the bathroom, a few carefully-placed handles and bars can add even more safety. Place them near the toilet, shower, or bathtub to help your loved one get in and out or up and down without falling. Grab bars are fairly inexpensive and easy to install.
6. Look for Loose Cords
With all of the appliances and electrical devices in homes these days, cords can easily become a tripping hazard for seniors. Take the proper steps to secure cords to the wall, place them behind furniture, or remove them if they are for items that are no longer in use. While you’re at it, look for frayed or broken cords, as they may eventually become a fire hazard.
7. Make Sure Everything Is at the Right Height
You never want your loved one to have to climb up high to reach something in the kitchen. Consider rearranging cabinets, shelves, and pantries so food and utensils are at eye level or lower. This also extends to the bedroom and bathroom. Make sure your loved one’s bed is not so high that he or she can’t get onto it, but not so low that he or she can’t get up in the morning. You’ll also want to make sure your loved one can get into the shower or bathtub without any height obstacles.
Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Milwaukee home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (414) 964-8000.