Seniors are far more susceptible to trips and falls. Here are some ideas to help keep them safe and age successfully in their own home.
Imagine an aging adult walking through your living room or kitchen. What objects would they have to navigate around? Are there any objects that need to be stepped over? Would they feel comfortable in this setting without you?
While many layouts and furniture around the house may seem like afterthoughts in our busy daily routines, it’s important to remember that they could be potential trip or fall hazards for someone who is getting older. Items such as electric cords, throw rugs and deeper bathtubs are easily overlooked – and mitigatable – safety risks.
Despite older home models oftentimes not meeting the needs of an aging adult, just a few low-budget (or free) modifications can help make a world of a difference in mitigating their fall risk.
Unfortunately, the big issue is that adult children or family members of an older adult are often reluctant – possibly from it not being top of mind or not wanting to intrude -- to bring up an important safety conversation. According to Home Instead® research, roughly 85% of seniors have not prepared their home for aging – despite fall risks greatly increasing as they age.
Aside from planning, regular exercise and mobility also play a big factor in reducing falls. The stronger and more in shape an aging adult is, the easier it is for them to navigate their home or even an outside sidewalk without assistance.
Here are 5 other potential fall safety issues to address with a senior:
- Amp up the lighting – Hallways and basements are often dark and hard to navigate – day or night – without proper illumination. Nightlights and brighter bulbs can be an easy fix.
- Cut the Clutter – Stacks of magazines, books, or dog toy baskets should be removed from the floor and placed somewhere they cannot be tripped over.
- Mitigate the Driveway – If a senior has a steep or uneven driveway, snow and ice could create a nightmare scenario. Make sure this item is discussed before the winter season arrives.
- Create a More Useable Kitchen – “Lazy Susans” and other organization items eliminate the need for long reaches into pantries or bending over below a sink.
- Evaluate their shoes – From runners to nurses, proper footwear is a necessity for anyone who spends any amount of time walking around. Seniors need a shoe that not only has good grip, but also ankle support to avoid twists and injuries.