Fall prevention: Seniors, make your home safer
Falls are a leading cause of unintentional injury among adults age 65 years and older. Let's see how some home improvement can help fall prevention.
Waking up in the middle of the night? Moving in the dark to turn on a light is a risk of falling, especially if you have trouble walking around. A switch at the head of the bed allows you to quickly turn on a light without leaving your bed. Another possibility: a presence detector. The lamp turns on by itself when you get up! Or if you don't want to wake up your spouse, you can install a night light in your room and in the hallway leading to your bathroom. There are also lighted slippers that light up when you walk and that let you see in the dark.
Fall prevention starts with your floor: opt for a non-slippery surface, such as carpeting or linoleum, over hardwood floor.
Also, be aware that loose, unsecured rugs and damaged carpets with curled edges, are recognized environmental hazards.
Every year, approximately 38,000 Americans age 65 years or older are treated in emergency rooms for falls associated with carpets and rugs. Most falls occur at home. 80% victims are women. The most common location is the bathroom. Many falls happen at the transition between carpet/rug and non-carpet/rug, on wet carpets or rugs, and while hurrying to get to the bathroom.
So make sure to secure carpets and rugs under furniture or fix them to the floor with double-sided tape.
The right bed for seniors
Lying down and getting up can become more difficult with age, and can also contribute to accidents. A suitable bed is therefore essential for fall prevention.
To get up more easily, remember to raise your bed. For this, you can replace the feet of your bed with higher feet or use bed risers. You can install a grab bar next to your bed to help you get up.
Also opt for a comfortable bedding, especially if you have back or joint pain issues, such as osteoarthritis. You need to chose a firm mattress and change it every 10 years. A memory foam mattress seems to work best ideal: it relaxes muscles and relieves pain. Also pick your pillow carefully. It should follow the shape of your head and your neck gently and without pressure, and helps relieve back and neck problems.
A comfortable home for seniors
Simple amenities can make your home more comfortable:
Install electric shutters: they are easier to open and close than manual shutters, especially if you have osteoarthritis.
Arrange cabinets and chests with shallow drawers and sliding doors to make your clothes and belongings easily accessible.
Rearrange shelves and cabinets. Ideally your belongings should be stored at a height of 16 to 55 inches from the ground. You no longer need to climb on a chair to grab clothes or linens.
Opt for a bedside table height adjustable to easily catch the objects on it (book, glasses, drugs ...).
Also remember to have a phone jack installed if needed and a phone in your room. It will be easier to answer calls in the evening or if you nap in the afternoon. To avoid moving at night if you are thirsty, place a glass of water on your bedside table.