13 Tips for Preventing Falls and Increasing Safety in Your Senior’s Home
For many seniors, staying at home is the most economical and desirable living arrangement. But without proper preparation, home can also be surprisingly dangerous. Consider these facts:
6 out of every 10 falls happens at home
1 out of 3 adults over 65 will get injured in fall
Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal and fatal injuries in elderly adults
The good news is that many home injuries are preventable. The bathroom is a great place to start. With hard, slick surfaces that frequently get wet and slippery, bathrooms can be danger zones. A little work, however, goes a long way toward creating a safe, comfortable environment.
Senior-proofing your bathroom: Small projects
These projects and purchases can be completed by most homeowners in a weekend, and make a big difference in your loved one’s safety.
Put non-slip pads or strips on the bathtub or shower floor.
Remove bathmats or area rugs that could cause trips and falls.
Install grab bars and/or safety rails in the bath or shower and near the toilet. Safety bars should be long and wide enough to grasp easily, be covered in a non-slippery grip, and be well-anchored enough to hold an adult’s weight.
Get a toilet safety frame or raised seat to add stability while using the toilet. Two options are molded plastic and the adjustable variety; both will add between 3 and 6 inches to the toilet.
Buy a shower stool, seat, or transfer bench. It should have a rigid seat and back, and rubber tips on the feet to prevent slipping.
Make sure toiletries and supplies are within easy reach.
Set the water heater to 120 degrees or lower to prevent scalding.
Add nightlights or motion lighting to the bathroom to ensure it’s well lit even at night. Think about lighting the path from your loved one’s bedroom to the bathroom, as well. Don’t forget to ensure that any and all light switches are easily accessible.
Senior-proofing your bathroom: Bigger projects
These projects may require professional help, but can also play a big role in making your loved one’s bathroom as safe as possible.
Hang the door so that it opens outwards in case of a fall (if necessary). Remove any door locks.
Install a hand-held shower nozzle, which can be simpler to use while sitting down.
Replace glass shower doors with plastic or shower curtains.
Create a tub cut out. Lower one side of the tub so that it’s easier for seniors to get in and out.
Install a walk-in tub. Updating your bathroom with a complete walk-in tub isn’t cheap, but it is a very effective way to make it easier for seniors to bathe. Expects the cost of the tub and installation to range anywhere from $3000 to $15,000.
Remaining in the home can provide seniors with a strong sense of comfort and confidence. By following the tips listed above, you can help make sure that your loved one stays safe as well as satisfied.