Caring for an elderly family member or a loved one who may suffer from a mobility impairment is an important responsibility. With their slower ability to heal from an injury and the increased frailty caused by loss of muscle tone and bone density can leave the elderly at significant risk of injury from even a seemingly minor fall. Learning how to create and maintain a safe environment within the home can ensure that families will be able to better meet the needs of any senior members. The following examples serve to highlight many of the most important concerns which may need to be addressed.
Relocating a Loved One to a More Accessible Area
Simply moving the bedroom of a senior family member to a more accessible area within the home can often make quite a difference. Being on the ground floor or ensuring quick and easy access to entryways, exits and shared areas within the home helps to minimize the risk of an accidental fall. Bedrooms which are more easily accessed can also ensure that those attempting to provide assistance for an elderly family member may do so with greater ease.
Installation of Safety Hardware
Installing hand and guardrails as well as non-slip surfaces in key areas of the home can reduce the risk of a future fall while also ensuring that elderly loved ones are able to move about more freely. Narrow hallways which may be difficult to navigate as well as bathrooms and other areas where seniors may need to reposition themselves frequently are often ideal environments for the installation of safety hardware. Even major additions to a home, such as a ramp or a stair chair, may be required in order to ensure that those with reduced mobility will be less likely to fall and injure themselves.
Mobility Assistance Devices
Canes, walkers and other devices which may be required in order to ensure seniors are about to navigation their surroundings safely can often be an important resource. Ensuring that such equipment is utilized properly and consistently is a concern which often goes overlooked. Removing clutter from the home and ensuring that there is ample room for any mobility-assist devices that may be in use is another way in which families may be able to maintain a safer environment.
Providing Sufficient Lighting
Rooms that are poorly lit can become a real issue, especially for seniors whose eyesight may be failing. Installing new fixtures, brightening areas and improving the overall level of illumination within the home can be an important part of fall and injury prevention. Under lit areas within the home could prove to be a more serious safety hazard than many families might realize and the addition of a new lamp or brighter bulb can often make a real difference.