The thought of taking on the project of making your home safer for seniors living with you may seem overwhelming. But tackling it in small room-by-room steps may be easier than you think.
- Install grab bars in the bathtub/shower and around the toilet. Also add traction to the tub with non-stick decals at the bottom.
- Add a raised toilet seat if the current one is too low.
- Lay a bathmat down that doesn’t move when stepped on.
- Turn the water heater down to 120 degrees or below to avoid accidental burns.
- Add nightlights for nightly visits to the bathroom.
- Remove throw rugs and check for bumps in carpeting that can cause a trip or fall.
- Make sure furniture is sturdy.
- Remove excess furniture and clutter that can make walking aids harder to use in the space.
- Make sure a phone is accessible.
- Assess the height of the bed. A height low enough to easily sit on but not too low it is hard to get out of is ideal.
- Check for electrical cords that might be in the way and move out of the way.
- Make sure room lighting is adequate and any switches are in easy to reach locations. Add a night light that illuminates the room enough to easily see shapes and objects.
- Check for and remove any clutter, cords or rugs that can cause tripping. Also, check for lumps in carpeting that can cause tripping.
- Provide enough light to see easily.
- Mark the bathroom door to distinguish it from any others.
- Move commonly used items to easy to reach areas of the cabinets or shelving.
- Remove clutter on countertops.
- Remove throw rugs or excess chairs.
- Add a fire extinguisher near the stove.
- Create a space for pots and pans in an easier to reach location than below the countertop. Consider hanging pans on a nearby wall or storing in a higher shelf or a close by kitchen cart.
- Clear away clutter and throw rugs that might cause a fall or trip. Check carpeting for lumps.
- Check that there is enough light in the room and the switches are in easy to reach areas. Remote control lighting may be an option to look into.
- If the furniture is not sturdy or a height that is difficult to sit down in or get up from, consider replacing.
- Have non-slip flooring at the top and bottom of the stairs and consider a runner if the staircase isn’t carpeted.
- Install hand rails that are easy to reach and grab. Make sure they are sturdy and secure.
- If there are stairs, install hand rails or make sure existing ones are sturdy.
- Make sure there are lights along the walkway and on porch.
Breaking up the task into a room by room assessment makes the project of creating a safer home less daunting for you, and safer for the senior joining your home.