How to Make Your Home Safe for Aging Parents

Here are some simple home improvements that can keep your aging parents safe from dangerous falls and slips.

  • Keep hallways and stairwells free from clutter. Remove any objects that can cause tripping.
  • Check handrails for sturdiness. Be sure banisters are properly installed with long bolts and not short screws or nails. Handrails must be properly anchored to hold up when suddenly grabbed by a falling person.
  • Put handrails on both sides of your stairs.
  • Are all paths well lit? Install motion detector switches. Install light switches in easy to access areas. Be sure long hallways have light switches at both ends of the hall. Stairwells should have light switches at both ends of the stairs.
  • Install wall to wall carpet and make sure it is securely fastened at doorways. Throw rugs are a tripping hazard. Apply no-slip stripping on smooth floors.
  • Have grab bars professionally installed in bathrooms. Grab bars must be properly anchored into wall studs. Place safety bars near toilets.
  • Have grab bars installed inside and outside of showers and tubs.
  • Use non-slip mats around the bathroom where water may fall.
  • Nightlights are a simple but effective way to reduce accidents. No senior home should be without them.
  • Install telephones in several spots around the home, especially by beds. Keep an easy to access emergency phone number list attached by the phone.
  • Program emergency numbers into speed dial and be sure everyone knows how to use them.
  • Watch out for electric cords and telephone wires. Use a wireless phone and have a licensed electrician replace extension cords with a safer alternative.
  • Keep furniture out of the way. Make sure walkways are free of any tripping hazards.
  • Check furniture for sturdiness and accessibility. Be sure older chairs and sofas are still strong and easy for your aging parent to use. Consider a lift-chair.

Senior Safety Tips: How to Avoid Slips and Falls

  • Wet floors are dangerous. When washing floors be sure to keep off them until dry.
  • Keep the things you need at hand. Don’t story frequently used items on high shelves.
  • Reach Sticks. Avoid standing on chairs or tables to get at hard to reach items. Use an extended grabbing stick.
  • Keep Cool in the Summer. An air conditioner isn’t a luxury to people with medical conditions.
  • Keep Cozy in the Winter. Keep your thermostat above 65 °F, especially when you’re sleeping.

Check with local and national elder support organizations for assistance in making your home safe.

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