For an aging senior, continuing to live independently at home in the comfort and familiarity of their usual surroundings may be a top priority. But as their loved one, making sure that the familiar home is safe for them to do so should be your top priority.
According to Age Safe America, 90% of older adults report wanting to age in place, meaning they would prefer to stay in their own home as they get older. However, a staggering 85% of those older adults have reported doing nothing to make their home safer and more accessible as they age and mobility declines.
Conducting an Elderly Home Safety Assessment
Here are our suggestions of things you should check, consider, and do in order to make your aging loved one’s home as safe as possible. We will divide the home up into the different rooms that may be involved to ensure all bases are covered in your loved one’s home.
The living room is often the heart of any home — it’s where families gather and guests are entertained. To make sure the living room is safe, it’s a good idea to think about making the following arrangements:
- Make sure chairs and other seats are high enough to easily get in and out of.
- Relocate any low-level coffee tables or end tables to avoid tripping and falling.
- Remove any area rugs or floor level clutter that can easily become tripping hazards.
- If the living room has dim lighting, increase the number of lamps to make visibility greater for those experiencing changes in eyesight.
A bedroom is a place of sanctuary and rest. You should make sure the bedroom is also functional and free of hazards for aging loved ones. To keep that sanctuary safe, consider the following:
- Clear the clutter. Bedrooms often accumulate clutter through the years, and that can obstruct pathways to the closet and other areas. Clear the clutter to ensure everything is easily accessible.
- Install lighting that works remotely to avoid having to get out of bed to turn the light switches on and off. Consider keeping a low wattage light on at all times in the room to light the way for those late-night trips to the bathroom or kitchen.
- Make sure the bed is high enough to get in and out easily. Also, consider installing a bed railing to reduce the risk of falling out of bed in the night.
With tiled floors, wet surfaces, and tight quarters, bathrooms can be a dangerous place for anyone but especially seniors. On the list of home safety, bathroom safety should be at the very top because of all the hazards you’ll find.
- Install grab bars around the shower and the toilet to provide extra support when standing, sitting, or getting in and out of the shower.
- Put a bench in the shower to keep older adults from having to stand too long on a slippery surface.
- Install a rubber mat or non-slip decals to prevent slipping in the shower and outside the tub.
- Get a raised toilet seat or replace the toilet with a higher one to make getting up and down easier.
The kitchen is another central part of the home and one that is visited frequently over the course of the day. Whether cooking, getting a snack, or grabbing a glass of water, the kitchen sees a lot of traffic and should be adjusted to ensure safety.
- Install pull-down shelves to avoid the need to reach over the head or use a step stool to retrieve things.
- Find lower level places to store heavy objects such as mixers or other appliances to make retrieval easier and safer.
- Remove any area rugs that aren’t rubber or slip-proof.
- Make sure smoke detectors are in good working order and keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of a fire while cooking.
Continuing to live at home as long as possible is absolutely achievable if the proper safety measures are taken. Helping ensure that your loved one is safe and living well independently could be as simple as taking time to check on their wellbeing and helping them make their home safer.
However, if you think it might be time to discuss assisted living options, let us be part of the conversation. Contact one of our experts today to discuss what options are available for your loved one and which will be the right fit for their health and your peace of mind.