As a care provider for an aging loved one, this senior’s safety should be at the very top of your priority list. Not only are seniors more susceptible to falls and other incidents in the home, but are also prone to worsened injuries and consequences associated with these problems. This makes it critical for you to go through the home room by room and make changes that will help protect your loved one from potential injury.
The kitchen poses many potential dangers for your aging loved one. Replace a traditional coffee pot with a single-cup machine to eliminate the need to pick up and pour from a heavy glass pot. Make sure that all knives and sharp implements are kept carefully out of reach, and that any dangerous items such as cleaning chemicals, liquor and lighters are locked away. If necessary, disengage the oven so that it cannot be used without your supervision.
Other than the stairs, the bathroom is the most dangerous room of the home for seniors. Moving through the room, sitting, climbing in and out of the tub, and bathing can all be dangerous for a senior coping with mobility challenges. Install grab bars throughout the room, but particularly beside the toilet and in the shower to provide leverage and support for your loved one. Either replace the existing tub with a walk-in tub designed for seniors, or provide a sturdy bath seat so your loved one does not have to lower himself all the way into the tub to bathe. As with the kitchen, keep cleaning materials out of reach.
Falls down stairs are responsible for thousands of senior trips to the emergency room each year. What might result in only minor injuries for a younger person could result in devastating injuries for a senior, necessitating hospitalization, rehabilitation and even transitioning into a skilled care facility. Ensure the banister is very sturdy to provide proper support for your loved one, and remove loose rugs or runners that could pose a tripping hazard. For additional help, install stair lift that will bring your loved one safely up and down the stairs
If your loved one has trouble getting in and out of bed, consider lowering it so that it is easier to get into. If this is not an option, install side rails that will prevent your loved one from rolling out of bed and will provide additional leverage for getting into and out of place. Consider purchasing a toilet chair to position beside the bed at night so your loved one does not need to navigate to the restroom if the need arises.