Making Parent's Home Safer As They Age
Updated: Sep 30, 2022
As personal assistants to seniors, their safety is our priority. From getting out of bed during the night or first thing in the morning, to navigating their way in and out and around the house... preventing slips and falls is a major concern. Even a fall from a short height, like from falling off the side of the bed, can lead to a traumatic brain injury as well as broken bones. Having worked with brain trauma patients as young as three and as old as in their nineties, recovering can be long and uncertain - all the more so as we age. Broken bones typically take longer to heal in the elderly with the most common fractures sustained by seniors being the hip, pelvis, ankle and upper arm bone near the shoulder.
An article by AARP has some great information regarding safety tips, simple steps to prevent falls, dealing with upgrading an older home, financial assistance, etc. We recommend this article by AARP as an excellent safety guide.
"More than three-quarters of U.S. adults age 50 and older want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible, according to AARP’s 2021 “Home and Community Preferences Survey.” But a May 2020 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that less than 10 percent of U.S. homes are "aging-ready," meaning they have a step-free entryway, a first-floor bathroom and bedroom, and at least one bathroom accessibility feature, such as a grab bar or shower seat.
Adapting your home to accommodate another’s needs is a step some are hesitant to make. But if you’re contemplating this move, consider advice from the experts who say the trend is likely to continue as the nation’s population ages."
Here are some low-cost safety measures you can take:
• Add textured, no-slip strips in the bathtub and shower. • Apply nonslip wax on floors. • Place a waterproof seat or chair in the shower. • Put nonskid treads on steps. • Remove throw rugs. • Remove wheels on chairs. • Replace standard doorknobs with lever handles. • Replace toilet with a raised or high-profile toilet. • Use rubber-backed bathmats.
Here are some expensive modifications that may require a contractor to make the home more accessible for a wheelchair.
• Alter the shower for walk-in rather than step-over entry. • Create zero-threshold entryways. • Move light switches for easy reach from a wheelchair or bed. • Widen doorways and hallways.