If a member of your family is reaching a time of their lives when they’re not as strong as they used to be, then perhaps it’s time to better accommodate them with a few changes to your home. It doesn’t matter whether they live with you full-time or come to visit you often.
The best strategy is to get started early. If a loved one is nearing the age of sixty and showing signs of fragility, then that’s your cue to start assessing hazards and taking steps to make your home more ‘elderly friendly’.
If you’re not sure about how to get started, here are some tips to help you out:
Make a List of Trip Hazards
Elderly people are very susceptible to fall injuries. One study published by the University of New South Wales provides the following statistics on this issue:
- On average, one in three Australians that are older than sixty-five suffers a fall at least once a year.
- Falls account seem to account for 30% of all injury related deaths
Hence, it’s definitely worthwhile to go around your house and make a list of all trip hazards. This can include loose rugs, cords and clutter.
Keep the House Free From Clutter
An environment with clutter is extremely dangerous to the elderly, as they can easily slip and fall on small objects. Hence, you should always make it a practice to keep your home clutter-free.
If you have children, teach them not to leave their toys and clothes lying on the floor. Communicate to them the importance of keeping walkways completely spotless.
Things like rails and bars can be extremely useful for senior family members who have trouble walking. Handrails are must on the staircase but can also be useful mounted on the walls of hallways as well. For loved ones that are especially weak, you could install a handrail in their room as well, which leads straight from their bed to the bathroom.
Pay Special Attention to the Staircase
Staircases are one of the more hazardous components in any house. According to that same study mentioned above, 12% of all fall injuries occurring inside homes are stairway-related. Hence, here are few things you can do to make it safer for the elderly member in your family:
- Replace flimsy handrails – if the railing is more decorative than it is useful, then we highly recommend that you get it replaced with a sturdier one. Make sure it’s not so wide that you can’t wrap your hand completely around it.
- Keep it free from trip hazards – if you drop something on the steps, make sure to pick it up immediately. Also, if there are loose boards sticking out, either nail them down or replace them as soon as possible.
- Install a safety gate – safety gates are useful for restricting access to senior family members who are suffering from conditions such as dementia.
When loved ones reach a fragile age, it’s very important to make sure they’re comfortable inside their living space. Things like eliminating trip hazards and installing handrails can really help improve their quality of life.