Caution and Safety for Elderly Family Members - May 23rd 2014
It is a well known and established fact that people are living longer in our society. Perhaps you are a family with elderly parents or grandparents. If so I am sure you are concerned with their safety when it comes to falls which is very common issue among our senior folks.
Your family members may live in their own home and be independent and healthy enough to want to stay there or perhaps you are considering having them move into your home with you or maybe in a separate suite. Irregardless of the location there are some safety issues that you should address. Here are some recommendations to follow.
The bathroom is definitely an area of concern when it comes to protection from falls. Install safety rails and a grab bar in the tub area. Install a second grab bar near the toilet. Without these bars your Mom or Dad will end up using the towel bars or toilet paper holders for support. These can pull away from the wall, cause a serious fall and require you to do drywall repairs .
Be sure to have non slip protection in the tub or shower, a rubber bath mat or better still add some permanent non slip strips as they may forget to use the mat.
Loose throw rugs can be a potential danger, best to remove anything that could slip or cause one to catch their toe and trip. Try to arrange furniture so that there is easy access to the usable areas. Any cords or electrical wires should be taped to the walls if possible. It may be worthwhile having an electrician add some more electrical outlets to lessen the number of possible trip points from wires or extension cords.
Check the lighting in stairways, hallways and the entrance areas of the home particularly if there are steps that have to be navigated at the front entrance or from the garage to the house.
Check railings on any and all staircases. In some areas especially if the steps are steep a second railing providing handholds on both sides would be very beneficial.
Carefully check all outdoor sidewalks, steps, patios and so on; such items as uneven areas and loose pavers can cause nasty falls. Try to keep all traffic areas; sidewalks and patios level and free of debris. Please remember to exercise caution during the winter when these same areas can become slippery from snow, rain and or ice.
These jobs big or small may well save the pain and discomfort of a nasty fall and of course we want to keep our seniors healthy and comfortable.