Tips for Caregivers: Home Safety
Walkways and entryways
Illuminated and flat walkways will provide safety for an older relative who may use a walker or wheelchair. Take a look at yours, and repair cracked or uneven sidewalks, add anti-skid strips and consider motion-sensor lights for extra protection. Install rails on both sides of stairways and use color-contrasting treads for added visibility. Create a no-rise entryway with a ramp. Eliminate thresholds in the entryway into the home, as well as throughout the home, since they are known to be trip-and-fall hazards.
Don’t skimp when it comes to creating a safe bathroom, as this is one of the most prevalent locations for slips and falls. To help prevent accidents, make sure bathmats are non-slip and that all showers and tubs have non-slip strips or mats. Installing grab bars will also help prevent falls. Vertical or U-shaped grab bars are recommended, since diagonal bars are more conducive to slipping. When installing grab bars, make sure they’re anchored well enough to support the weight of the person using them.
Extra lighting in the shower, as well as a height adjustable hand-held shower sprayer and shower seats or benches will also help. An elevated toilet with ample space for maneuvering a walker or wheelchair are also recommended as needed.
Make sure there is enough space to maneuver a wheelchair or walker. Lighting should be ample and reachable from the bed; a rocker light switch near the headboard can be helpful in this manner. Create closet space with a doorway that can accommodate mobility equipment and lower shelves for easy access.
To keep things safe in the kitchen, the name of the game is preventing bending or crouching, especially when hot food and appliances are involved. As always, make sure appliances are well-lit with easily readable dials and buttons. Wall ovens and microwave drawers can be helpful to avoid heavy lifting, especially with hot items. It can be helpful to place pantry items on lower shelves, as well as any other frequently-used items for easy access. Lazy Susans can be incredibly helpful for this process.
With these home safety tips, you can give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind during the caregiving process.
Your turn: How have you made your home safer for older occupants? Share your tips with us in the comments!
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