Updated: Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012, 4:10 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012, 3:41 PM EDT
Grand Rapids, MI (WOTV) -
My mother, whom I affectingly call my Ever Ready Bunny, is a testament to healthier lifestyles seniors are experiencing today. And the longer they live in their home, which is certainly the ideal option, the greater risk of personal injury if their home isn’t suited to their particular safety requirements.
If you or your parent’s home isn’t geared towards safety, here are some relatively quick, easy projects you may need to consider. Some might require a few household tools, a few might require a professional.
BATHROOM GRAB BARS: These are pretty much a requirement for the person with mobility issues. Have the senior show you how he/she moves around the bathroom so you can install the grab bars in the correct places. Follow installation instructions as they generally have to be attached to wall studs to be effective.
LIGHT: With deteriorating eyesight, dark shadows and hallways can be a safety issue. You can install low voltage track or recessed lighting that can remain on or be put on a timer at the outlet. Illuminating the pathway from bedroom to bathroom with night lights is an easy fix. Or you may want to consider motion-activated lighting at various spots around the house.
FLOOR SAFETY: According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 35% of adults over 65 experience a fall each year. The biggest culprit? Area rugs. They just bunch up and become a trip hazard so just toss them! Vinyl and tile floors should not be cleaned with wax products that make them slippery.
WATER FAUCETS: If the seniors hand strength has diminished due to arthritis or other health issues, they may not be able to easily turn faucet handles. Depending on the space, they can be replaced with levers. Since we’re talking about water, you might want to check the temperature of the water heater to make sure it’s not higher than 120 degrees. Higher temperatures and slower reflexes could be an issue.
WHEELCHAIRS: Unless the home was designed for “aging in place”, most doorways aren’t built for wheelchairs. This is one remodeling project where a licensed contractor will save you time and money. They can install wider frames – at least 32” – to accommodate a wheelchair or make getting around with a walker so much easier.
CURB APPEAL: Make sure the address is clear and visible. Motion detection lighting for the entry is a great idea. Make sure the mailbox is easily accessible and the entry surfaces should not be slippery. And finally, it’s probably a good idea to install a key box for emergencies.