Moving your elderly parent or aging relative into your home can be a wonderful thing for both them and you. When entering this dynamic, it’s important to consider the safety of your loved one. Depending on their health, mobility, and progression in life, you might consider making small or large changes to your home to promote safety and independence, while preventing falls, injuries, and accidents.
According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors 65 and older, thus proving the importance of safety in your home. In honor of Patient Safety Awareness Week, we put together a list of common recommendations to make your home safer and more accessible for your elderly parent.
- Reduce Clutter
- Remove cords, toys, bags, pet bowls, etc. off the floor to ensure a clear walkway.
- Get rid of throw rugs, and for area rugs, use non-slip backing to adhere the rug to the floor.
- Proper Lighting
- Ensure that your house has adequate lighting, as low light can lead to diminished vision.
- Use sensor lights to enhance vision.
- Stair Safety
- Add non-slip tread to stairs.
- Keep stairs clean and free of clutter.
- Use extended handrails on both sides of stairway.
- Install a chairlift if necessary.
- Bathroom Safety
- Use non-slip mats in the tub or shower and non-slip rugs on the bathroom floor.
- Add a shower chair, bench, or seat.
- Install grab bars to support while toileting or getting in/out of the shower or bath.
- Consider a raised toilet seat for easier access.
- Around the House
- Remove wheels on chairs in the house.
- Replace standard doorknobs with lever handles.
- Ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are located throughout the home.
- Mark changes in floor surfaces, floor level and steps with tape in a contrasting color to alert the individual of the change.
- Keep a working flashlight in nightstands for emergencies.
- Move frequently used items from high shelves or under counters to more accessible locations.
- Get a senior emergency response device, like LifeAlert or ADT.
Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 12-18, 2023, is an annual recognition to encourage everyone to learn more about health care safety.