As people age, the homes that were once a source of security can become a danger. Many New Yorkers would prefer to stay in their own home. This means that changes must be made to keep them safe. Some of these changes may be easy to spot, while others might not be so obvious. Here’s some information to get you started on elder-proofing your home in Queens.
Elder-Proofing is an Ongoing Task
Safety is important, but it’s not the only goal when elder-proofing a house. Of course, you want your loved one to be able to move around without being in danger of falling. But it’s also important that they feel comfortable in their home. The needs of older people are changing all the time, and it can be challenging to keep their environment up to date.
It’s a good idea to periodically take a careful look at your loved one’s home and see if there are any elder-proofing details that could be improved. For example, changes like deteriorating eyesight can happen gradually. Caregivers often don’t realize that added lighting or magnification would make tasks much easier.
Here is a list of things you can check to get you started on making sure your loved one’s home is as safe and comfortable as possible.
One of the main hazards for elderly people is falling. Do your best to reduce that risk as much as possible by getting rid of clutter on floors and surfaces.
2. Remove throw rugs.
It’s very easy to get a toe or cane caught under the edge of a throw rug. Remove as many of them as possible. In areas that need an absorbent rug, such as the entryway or bathroom, get a low-pile rug with a non-slip backing.
3. Slip-proof the shower or bath.
Add adhesive textured strips to the bottom of a shower or bath to provide a secure footing, and consider adding a shower chair.
4. Install a raised toilet.
You can either have the toilet replaced with a higher-profile toilet or install a raised seat on your existing toilet.
5. Install grab bars in the bathroom.
You may notice that many of these tips so far have to do with the bathroom. According to the National Institute on Aging, up to 80 percent of falls at home happen in the bathroom. Installing grab bars by the toilet and in the bathing area can go a long way toward helping your loved one feel more secure.
6. Install faucets with a single lever.
Instead of struggling to adjust two faucet handles, a single lever makes it easier to control the temperature and force of the water.
7. Replace doorknobs with easy to grip lever handles.
Traditional round doorknobs can be hard for stiff fingers to get hold of, while a lever handle is much easier to maneuver.
8. Install an entrance ramp – even if your loved one doesn’t use a wheelchair.
Many elderly people struggle to lift their feet as they walk, and steps can be difficult to use. An entrance ramp is a must for wheelchair users, but people who use canes, walkers, or just have a hard time picking their feet up can benefit from one too.
9. Place frequently used items in convenient places.
Whatever your loved one needs to use should be easy to find and reach. This includes things they use in daily routines, such as toiletries and medication, but also items they want easy access to for their enjoyment, such as books and TV remotes. Look for creative storage solutions, like wall-mounted baskets, so they can quickly spot what they’re looking for and reach it.
10. Mount a whiteboard on the wall for communication.
If you place a whiteboard in a prominent place, it can be an effective message center for your loved one and any caretakers. This is a great way to remind your loved one of the day’s plans or to communicate requests to caretakers. Your loved ones can also use it to remind themselves about tasks.
11. Improve lighting.
Lighting may not be considered “elder-proofing,” but it is critical to safety. You can install more lighting, use higher wattage lightbulbs, or use motion-sensor lights to ensure the rooms are brightly lit. Have plenty of nightlights, and consider installing light switches at both the top and bottom of stairs, so your loved one doesn’t have to use the stairs in the dark.
12. Ensure your handrails are sturdy.
Make sure there are stable, easy-to-grip handrails on both sides of the stairs.
13. Use a smart speaker.
If your loved one is open to using a smart speaker, they can be extremely helpful. These voice-activated assistants can make phone calls, set timers, turn on and off the music, and much more. It may take practice if your loved one isn’t used to it, but if they can get comfortable with a smart speaker, they will love how easy it makes certain tasks.
14. Install bed rails.
If falling out of bed is a concern, you can install bed rails on a standard bed frame.
It may not be easy for your loved one to have some of these changes made to their home. People often feel as though they’re losing control over their house, and they may fight back, when you try these elder-proofing strategies. Try to listen to their concerns and find solutions you can both live with. Let us help!
David York Agency Home Healthcare Helps Seniors in New York
At David York Agency, we understand the many challenges and risks faced by the aging and elderly and are dedicated to providing care to support them through all of those ups and downs. At David York Home Healthcare Agency, extraordinary service is what sets us apart from other companies in New York that provide in-home healthcare services.
DYA provides direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Whatever your care needs, we are there for you, always striving to exceed your expectations. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (718) 376-7755. A free phone consultation can help you determine what services would meet your needs. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.