According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, one in four Americans over the age of 65 takes a fall. Home is the most likely and common place to fall, and unfortunately, less than half of seniors reported that they would let their physician know about it unless it resulted in serious injury.
With more and more seniors opting to “age in place” (i.e. in the comfort of their own home), it’s more important than ever to make sure that they are provided with the tools and gadgets to help them stay safe. If you or your loved one are approaching senior age, it’s worth it to take a look at the ways you can optimize your home for safer living. In our next few blog posts, our in-home senior care experts at Your Healing Touch are providing a room-by-room guide to “senior-proofing” your home. Read on to learn more about bathrooms and staircases in today’s post, and if you’d like to learn about the home health care services we provide throughout Indiana, feel free to contact us today.
Resistance to Making Safety Changes
First of all, if you are reading this on behalf of an elder loved one, you should know that many older adults may not want to admit when they are getting older and need to make lifestyle changes. Even if they recognize the need for assistance, they may not know where to start or how to ask.
You should do everything you can to encourage the senior in your life that their safety is the most important thing, and give them support and encouragement to eliminate household hazards that may risk their health. Remind them that this is not a failure on their part, and that making changes to their home to make it safer will also allow them to maintain greater independence for longer.
If you yourself are a senior citizen hoping to find tips for your own home, welcome! We hope you find this information useful.
Let’s begin in the bathroom, since that’s where most accidents occur. Stepping over the lip of a bathtub, especially from or onto a wet surface, can be especially challenging for older adults with balance or mobility issues. Standing for long periods in front of a sink can be tiring, and seniors with poor vision may have trouble navigating in bathrooms with monochromatic color schemes.
Depending on your specific level of needs, consider implementing one or all of the following in your bathroom:
- Walk-in shower: Eliminating the bathtub lip significantly reduces the risk of a fall while entering or exiting the shower, and makes it easier and more convenient for seniors to shower without assistance.
- Non-slip strips and rugs: Be sure to only use rugs with a non-slip backing so that they don’t lift up and create a tripping hazard. Also, utilize non-slip strips at the bottom of the shower to provide extra traction when the surface gets wet.
- Shower and sink seats: If you have difficulty standing for long periods of time, invest in a chair for your shower and a seat or stool to place in front of your sink.
- Grab bars: Best used in the shower and around the toilet, grab bars can offer support and leverage for older citizens with difficulty balancing.
If you have low vision problems, think about changing up the look of your bathroom to use lots of bright, contrasting colors. Also, you can outline your grab bars and the edges of the sink and shower to make it easier to navigate the space.
Stairs and stairwells are another hazardous area for older adults. A tumble down the stairs could result in serious injury, so pay careful attention to what you can do to make the stairway as safe as possible. If you can eliminate the need for stairs at all, then that’s a great solution, but for many people, that will be difficult or impossible without moving homes. If you are set on staying in your own home, you can think about implementing:
- Secure handrails: At the very least, a secure handrail running up the length of the stairs will make them much easier to climb and descend safely.
- Stair lifts: Although they are more expensive than a simple handrail, investing in a stair lift is one of the easiest ways to ensure you can always be safe using the stairs.
- Clutter-free: Make sure not to let clutter accumulate on the stairs, where it could quickly become a tripping hazard.
Contact Your Healing Touch For Home Care Services Today
The most dangerous rooms are out of the way, but we have more to cover in our household hazards series, so be sure to check back soon to learn more about creating safe living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and more. In the meantime, if you are interested in at-home care services, you can contact the Your Healing Touch team today. We are proud to empower senior citizens throughout Indiana to safely age in the comfort of home.