For older adults, at least 60% of fall injuries happen in their homes. As you get older, things change, your mobility, your balance, and sometimes your ability to simply do things on your own. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move out of your home and into assisted living.
Of course, this will greatly depend on your overall health and well-being but generally speaking, most people experience issues in their home because they aren’t able to do things the way that they used to. From trying to reach things that are too high up, or too low to the ground, or even going upstairs.
These are all things that should be made easier by simple adjustments to your home rather than leaving altogether unless other reasons would require you to have consistent assistance. As you age, things in your home will need to adapt accordingly. Keep reading to find better alternatives to moving out of your home while learning how to make it safe as you age.
Why Is It Important to Make Your Home Safe for Older Adults?
It’s no secret that as we age we become a little less capable to do things as we might normally do them. For example, having things located on high shelves can cause unnecessary strain and even present fall risks if a step stool needs to be used.
Even stepping over tall bathtubs may become difficult to use regularly. The point is that over time, certain things in our homes will need to be modified to accommodate our needs as we get older. Six out of every ten falls occur within the home, many of which could be preventable by taking precautions early on.
Overall, making your home safer is important because it can help reduce fall risks, prevent you from getting injured in general, and could help provide a more enjoyable experience in your home as you age. Let’s talk about a couple of the things you can do to make your home safer for you.
Install Hand Rails Where They Are Needed
Handrails are important to have wherever they are needed, especially when you are getting in and out of bed or out of the bathtub or shower. You should also consider having one installed next to your toilet and near any stairs in both interior and exterior spaces. This is something that many people don’t think to add until an injury occurs and it’s often easier to do this as a proactive measure.
Consider Getting a Walk in Tub and Raise Your Toilets
If you’re looking to age in place, a walk-in tub is one of the best things that you can do for your home. While these tubs can range anywhere between $2,000 and $20,000, there is room to find a product to fit any budget. Some companies even offer free installation.
80% of falls usually happen in bathrooms for those aged over 65. Walk-in bathtubs can help to lower that percentage. Along with a walk-in tub, you should also consider handrails if the tub installation does not include them but more than likely, they will.
While your tub is vital to adjusting as you get older, you should also consider the height of your toilet. Standard toilets are usually 15 or 16 inches from the ground. However, for seniors, it’s recommended that your toilet height is anywhere from 17 to 19 inches off of the floor to be a safe height.
The general rule is that your feet should be able to lie flat on the floor and it shouldn’t be difficult or strenuous to sit or stand when trying to use it. Doing these things will allow you to do more without needing assistance.
Ensure You Have an Alarm System
An alarm system isn’t just for those who live alone, or with children. They are incredibly important for those of all ages, particularly for older adults. Did you know that 1 in every 36 houses in the United States falls victim to a burglary? This is another reason to ensure that your property and home are secure. Additionally, it would also be in your best interest to have a personal alert accessory such as a bracelet or other form of wearable technology.
This becomes helpful in the case of a fall or if you have another emergency where you may not be able to get to a phone and call for help. At least 86% of adults that own a medical alert device have said that it has helped them during an incident. With the risk of breached security as well as personal injury, using deceives like this can make it more possible to live alone.
Install a Stair Lift or Add Stair Grips
If you struggle with balance or mobility in general, stairs and slippery surfaces may not be the best match for what you need. Falls can cause sprains, fractures, and sometimes worse in some cases so it’s best to do what you can to prevent those things from happening.
Multiple injuries can be avoided by simply installing a stair lift or having a gripped rug installed along the length of the staircase. A stair lift may be a higher expense but it is something that’s durable, will last a long time, and protect you in the case that you need assistance getting up and down the stairs.
Non-Slip Wax on Flooring Goes a Long Way
Many people overlook this, but it can make a big difference in your home. You may want to consider adding a non slip wax coating to the flooring in areas where it is needed, such as near bathtubs, or in the kitchen. If you have hardwood or tile throughout, this would be a necessary step. This is also a good way to reduce the chance of preventable slip and fall incidents.
Relocate Your Bedroom Downstairs
You may want to consider relocating your bedroom to the lower level of your home if you have a two or multi-story home. This will make it easier for you to move around, and it will also make it easier for others to assist you if you need help.
Doing this is also a good tactic in the case of an emergency making it easier for you to exit your home with little injury or difficulty and in less time if you ever had an emergency where this was required. In your bedroom, you could also consider having a bed rail meant for older adults and locating any aids you have to help with mobility near the bed.
Hire Help When You Need It
Sometimes you might need help and one of the best ways to prepare to not have to move from your home is to hire help when you need it. You could hire someone to come by a few times a week, or a month. Or you could use an on-call service of caretakers. The point is to have help readily available when you need it most.
Make Your Home Safer to Age How You’d Like
Making your home safer is important as you age, particularly if you have started to notice that you are struggling with mobility or anything else such as loss of vision or experiencing hearing loss. There are many things that you can do to make it easier to get around and keep your home secure as well as comfortable for what you need.
27% of those that are over 60 or older live alone and while some things may become more difficult to do as you age, you can do a few simple things to your home to make it fit for you to live in with little to no assistance. A good place to start would be to take precaution and ensure you’re prepared for emergencies.
MasTec focuses on providing quality generators which can serve as an additional resource of power in the case of an emergency. This summer, they are offering a special that will allow buyers to obtain significant savings on a purchase which would be a great place to start on making your home safer.