A Weekend for Senior Safety

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By Martie Cruz 

                                                                                                                

If you're fortunate enough to have a long weekend coming up, what are your plans? Quick getaway? Shopping the sales? Chopping down a cherry tree?

 

If you have an older loved one in your life, might we make a suggestion? A long weekend is a great time to tackle some home safety projects for them. Whether you have specific concerns (e.g. a rug they keep tripping on,), or simply want to protect them against an unexpected hazard, periodically assessing an older adult's home for potential risks is key to their successful aging in place.

 

Here are some common risks, as well as the simple, inexpensive modifications you can make this weekend to help avoid them:

 

  • Fall risks in the shower:                                                                     
    • Install grab bars and encourage the senior to get used to using them. If they start to slip, their first instinct should be to grab the bars, which are secured to the wall (as opposed to a shower curtain, or something else that may not hold them).
    • Swap out their wall-mount shower head with a handheld shower head on a hose – it allows them to wash every part of their body without moving their feet around on the slippery shower floor.
    • If there's room and you think it's necessary, consider putting in a shower chair.
  • Mobility around the house:
    • Upgrade lighting in closets, hallways, stairs and pantries. Good lighting not only helps prevent falls, it allows a senior to better adjust to a new space so that they can more easily identify anything out of place.
    • Replace standard hinges with swing clear hinges, which allow the door to swing completely clear of the door opening, adding an extra 1.5 to 2" of clearance without widening the doorway.
    • Anchor rugs so that they don't move, and remove rugs that are raised enough to cause a person with vision or mobility issues to trip.
  • Clutter:
  • Clear the floor of any projects, boxes, piles of mail or newspapers, or other things that might cause an older person to fall, or create a fire hazard, then encourage the senior to avoid letting things pile up again.
  • Arrange for your senior to pay their bills online, or offer to do it for them.
  • Discontinue magazine subscriptions and buy them at the newsstand instead. This will cut back on the eternal deluge of renewal notices.
  • Ask that your senior be removed from mailing lists or visit one of these websites to do it for them:

 

For more information about helping older adults successfully age in place, please contact us.

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