Tips to Help You Make Your Home Elder-Safe
by Yewande D. Awoyemi
As people age, accidents around the house can become a real concern. A trip or stumble that might have resulted in minor bumps and bruises in younger days can lead to serious injury for older people whose balance and coordination is not what it once was.
We all want to stay in our familiar surroundings as long a possible. Making a home safe for an older person who needs some level of home care is not difficult, but it does take knowing what to look for. Many times, small changes can make a significant difference. Here are some helpful tips that will make your loved one's home a safer environment.
Lights On for Safety:
* Many older people keep lights off to save electricity, and while this frugal habit is understandable, it has to be balanced with the ability to see clearly when moving about. One solution is compact fluorescent bulbs. They can replace most incandescent bulbs in a home, cost much less to operate, and burn cooler.
* Anyone can be a little disoriented when waking up at night and walking from the bedroom to the bathroom. It is especially true for older people, and so lighting the way is essential. Even if the bathroom is adjacent to the bedroom, nightlights at several places along the way will help to make the path clear. If there are not enough outlets nearby, run an extension cord and install the nightlight were it is most useful.
* Let the sunshine in! If your loved one tends to draw the blinds or close the curtains for privacy during the daytime, try replacing them with sheer curtains that hide the view but let in light. Keeping lights low can contribute to falls and also lead to depression, so lighten up wherever possible.
Walk This Way:
* A leading cause of falls is clutter on the floor, especially in the bedroom. Make sure the remove the clutter of papers and magazines, shoes and slippers, and discarded clothing. Keep a clear path to the bathroom and other most used areas. Pay special attention to electrical cords that can be hard to see.
* Small rugs and mats are often used in hallways, but they can be dangerous for older people with limited mobility. Remove all throw rugs so there is nothing to catch a foot or walker.
* Consider the types of flooring in the home, and choose footwear accordingly. For instance, if floors are polished hardwood or slick tile, recognize that socks alone can be slippery and dangerous. Better to wear skid-resistant slippers or rubber-soled shoes.
* If your loved one uses a walker or shuffles, it could help to remove doorsills between rooms and use low, beveled edge strips over carpet edges to help prevent tripping.
Take some simple, inexpensive steps like these to make the home a safer and more comfortable place.
About the Author
Yewande D. Awoyemi is the administrator for Dubols Home Care. Dubols is a medical and non-Medical staffing agency that provides caregivers for in home elder care services. http://www.dubols.com
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