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A home is a place of comfort, happiness, and relaxation—at least it should be. Unfortunately, for many seniors the home can begin to pose new health and safety threats, making it less of a sanctuary than it used to be. Slippery floors, fires, and solitude are all things to safeguard against while living at home. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your home remains a safe and healthy haven for as long as you live there.
- Keep your footing: Falling is a serious danger for seniors—in fact, falls make up about 75% of all home accidents. Eliminate this risk in your home by covering up slippery floors with a mat or rubber-backed rug, or by wearing socks with a no-slip tread. Installing grab bars or shower seats in the bathroom is also a great way to provide more stability and reduce the danger of slipping and falling while bathing.
- Maintain visibility: A cluttered home isn’t just inconvenient—it can also be dangerous! When your bedroom floor is covered with books, clothes, or other items it’s even easier to trip and fall somewhere. Even if you don’t clean the entire room, try to make sure there’s at least a clear path between your bed and the door. A nightlight will also go a long way in keeping up visibility and avoiding a fall.
- Stay fit: Keep yourself safe from falls by making improvements to your body as well as your home. By improving balance and strengthening muscles you can feel both safer and more confident, and worry less about the dangers of falling. Exercises like walking, swimming, yoga, and biking are all great ways to hone your balance and improve muscle strength.
- Don’t forget the medications (meds): Taking medication regularly when it’s prescribed is of course vital to good health and safety. However, it’s no secret that as we get older, we sometimes get more forgetful, and remembering to do this can become difficult. If taking meds on time can be a problem for you, try using a schedule, post-it notes, or an automatic pill dispenser to help you remember.
- Avoid playing with fire: Home fire hazards are a very real danger for everyone, and for people over 75, the risk is three times the national average. Keep your home free of flames by making sure that space heaters are always at least three feet away from drapes or curtains, the stove is always off when not in use, and that anyone who smokes in your home does it outside. In addition, always smoke detectors in your home plugged in, and have a fire escape route planned in the event of an emergency.
Every home is different, but they should all be designed to promote health and safety. With a few simple modifications, you can keep your house danger-free, without sacrificing comfort or independence.
Activities for Seniors
About the Author: Elena Watson is a blogger for JustHomeMedical.com and a student at Bard College. She spends her time researching and writing about health care, particularly child and senior wellness.