Quick fixes for a safer home

Leave me home!!!   You better not put me in any nursing home!

Most people we speak to want to stay home.  Our concern is not just home, but home in a safe “senior friendly” environment.

You can make your home safer with a few simple steps; better lighting, trip hazards like worn or torn rugs, securing hand rails or banisters, etc.   Here are a few things you can do:

Quick fixes for creating a safer environment A good approach to begin creating a safer environment for seniors is to ask them what they have trouble with around the house, or watch them move within their home to determine what is causing them difficulty. The rooms in the home where the senior spends the most time, such as the family room, bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom, can be a good starting point. This room-by-room safety guide helps the senior, adult child, or caregiver focus on easy changes for a safer and more comfortable senior living space.

Overall Improvements:

  • Cleanup clutter around the home to greatly lessen the chances of tripping. Look for any low-lying items that are on the floor, such as stacks of magazines or plants, which may be close to a walking path. Move electrical cords from lamps or in-home medical devices so that they are out-of-the-way.
  • Inspect the condition of the floor in each room. Carpet shouldn’t be too shaggy or be wrinkling; feet catch easily on both. Tile or vinyl can be slippery, especially when wet. Secure throw rugs with anti-slip pads, tape them down, or remove them altogether. Stairs are particularly dangerous, so keep them clutter-free and install handrails on both sides.
  • Ensure there is enough lighting outside leading into the home and inside the home, in all walkways, and in rooms that the senior uses the most. Keep flashlights in easy-to-see and reach locations.
  • Replace doorknobs with easy, lever-style handles.

The Bathroom:

  • Install grab bars around the tub, shower, and toilet.
  • Elevate toilet seats.
  • Consider a walk-in shower or bathtub with built-in seating, or put a shower seat in the bathing area.
  • Use non-skid mats in front of the sink and toilet and outside the tub if you don’t put down low-pile carpeting.
  • Cover the bottom of the tub with a suctioned safety mat or a permanent rough coating.
  • Replace faucet knobs with lever handles to make it easy to turn water on and off.

The Kitchen:

  • Make sure everything in the kitchen is within easy reach, so that a stepstool is not necessary.
  • Post all important phone numbers,emergency contacts, and the senior’s doctors on the refrigerator.
  • Post a list of all medications the senior is taking, any allergies, and any health conditions.
  • Ensure lighting is sufficient.

The Bedroom:

  • Use a bed only as high as necessary. An elevated bed can be a problem to get in and out of.
  • Make sure the path to the bathroom is clear.
  • Install night lights where necessary for middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

SPECIAL QUESTION:  Are you, or do you know of a Wartime Veteran or their surviving spouse?  The Veterans Administration  has a program called  “Improved Pension, Aid and Attendance” that helps pay for helping the Veteran or surviving spouse with their activities of daily living while they remain in their home.   If you would like to know more, visit our web-site – www.wgalaw.com or email rick.messemer@wgalaw.com

Excerpt from “Senior Spirit” newletter from Raleigh Geriatric Care Management