Safety is an important consideration when inviting older relatives to your home. From reducing fall risks to providing additional comfort and convenience for someone who might be less mobile, taking a few proactive steps can help you support a senior's independence and wellness when they visit you. Consider a few tips from Bethesda Senior Living Communities to make your home safer for older relatives.
Sure, they might make your living room look more festive. But throw rugs are a danger for people with limited mobility or who might be at a higher risk of falls. If they are on a bare floor, they can easily cause a slip. Meanwhile, throw rugs on carpet can curl over, causing the same outcome.
If your older relative has mobility issues, ensure a safe space by removing obstacles in common areas. Even a seemingly slight bump into a piece of furniture can cause pain and bruising for older bodies.
The assisted living communities under the Bethesda Senior Living Communities umbrella make this a design necessity in independent apartments and assisted living common areas.
Shift furniture and decorative items to the perimeter of your home's common areas. This simple step ensures easy navigation with less risk of falls or bumps.
Extension cords are a trip hazard for people of any age because they are easy to overlook but just big enough to cause a stumble. If you're planning a visit with an older relative, remove any unnecessary extension cords and tag others with a colorful cover.
For added protection, alert your relative to the presence of the cord when they enter the space.
If you plan to host an older relative for an extended visit, some home alterations can ensure a more comfortable and safe environment. For instance, installing grab bars in the bathroom can help prevent falls in what is traditionally a very slippery space.
The exterior spaces of the home are often the ones people overlook the most. Yet, a fall can happen the moment an older relative gets out of the car if the driveway pavement is cracked or uneven.
Make your home safer by repairing major cracks prior to the visit. If you are unable to do so, be sure to meet your relative outside so you can help them navigate the unfamiliar terrain.
It might sound strange, but chief among the biggest perpetrators of falls for older people are pets. They tend to get underfoot and their toys present a trip hazard as well.
If you're planning to host older relatives in your home, place pet toys in a bin or, if your pet wants access to all their favorite toys, place them on the floor in another room of the home.
Allow pets to roam in a secure area away from older relatives while they get accustomed to the space. Then, gauge their level of comfort regarding interactions with your pet.
If yours is a multi-level home, line any steps with nonskid tread. Doing so provides added safety and security when older relatives use stairs to access other areas of the house.
While you're assessing the stair area, check the banisters as well to ensure they are sturdy enough for your relative to rely on while they traverse each step.
Wheeling around in rolling chairs might be fun for younger relatives, but they are a hazard for older ones. The unsteady structure of the chair might contribute to a fall while attempting to sit down.
Moreover, because chairs with wheels can easily be rolled across bare surfaces, a child might inadvertently roll right over an older relative's feet with the chair. This is why, ultimately, it's best to just stow wheeled chairs during the visit.
If you don't want to skip the wax layer after cleaning bare floors ahead of a visit from an older relative, use nonslip wax on all floor surfaces.
The more well-lit your home, the easier it will be for older relatives to navigate safely. Even in areas where you might not typically have lots of light, add ambient lighting or a lamp or two.
The more well-lit an area, the safer it may be for your older loved ones.
Planning ahead for a visit with an older relative might seem tedious given the ways you may need to alter aspects of your living space. However, it is well worth the effort to ensure the safety of those you love while they enjoy a visit with you in your home.