It’s no secret that once a person reaches the age of 65 their body starts slowing down. Arthritis, osteoporosis and heart problems are all common in the elderly population, and those chronic conditions can limit a senior’s mobility and lower their quality of life. Aging in place seniors with limited mobility also face safety challenges around the home which can make it seem like an intimidating place at times. If you’re currently looking after seniors with limited mobility who are still living at home, here are some proven ways to help keep them safer.
Mobility Challenges Seniors Face
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of four elderly Americans fall every year, resulting in broken hips, head injuries and hospitalizations. Many of those victims never fully recover from their fall-related injuries, and some seniors end up losing their freedom and independence as a result.
All these factors can reduce a senior’s ability to get around and increase their likelihood for falling:
- Poor balance
- Diminished body strength
- Vision problems
- Side effects from certain medications
- Poor-fitting footwear or foot pain
- Trip hazards around the home like broken steps, throw rugs or clutter
Even seniors with good mobility still have a fear of falling, which can keep them from being active enough, eating right or practicing good hygiene. If that sounds like your loved one, those behaviors can further reduce their quality of life and place their independence at risk.
Creating a Senior-Friendly Home
Fortunately, there are several reliable ways to update your loved one’s home so that it’s more “senior friendly”. These are some of the better ones:
Prevent bending, crouching, climbing and reaching as much as possible by:
- Converting to a wall or side-swing oven
- Installing Lazy Susans and rollout trays in cabinets for ease-of-accessibility
- Putting a pedal-controlled faucet above the sink
- Placing frequently used items on lower shelves or countertops
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for seniors, starting with slips and falls on wet surfaces. Use these tips to make your loved one’s safer:
- Place a non-skid bathmat in front of the shower area and non-skid strips inside the tub
- Remove all throw rugs from the room
- Install vertical or angled, U-shaped grab bars in the shower and near the toilet
- Beef up the lighting in the room, especially above the vanity and near the tub
- Add a shower seat in the bathing area
Inspect all the stairways and steps and make these modifications as needed:
- Ensure that there’s adequate lighting from top to bottom.
- Remove any throw rugs near the top of the stairs.
- Increase visibility by placing contrast strips on the front of each step.
- Install sturdy railings on both sides of the stairs.
Throughout the house make sure there’s a clear path, especially if your senior uses an assistive device like a cane or walker. Eliminate any throw rugs, electrical cords or small furniture items that could trip them, and if they have a pet make sure their supplies are out of the way.
Go outside the home and look for any walkway cracks or uneven surfaces that could be dangerous and then repair those. Install handrails in entryways with steps, and make sure there’s plenty of illumination above those. If your loved one uses a wheelchair, build a sturdy ramp leading to a wider doorway so they can get easily in and out.
An Added Layer of Protection in Your Senior’s Home
Keeping aging in place seniors with limited mobility safe can be hard when you’re busy or live far away. If you need some expert assistance, contact First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured private home health agency, our compassionate professional caregivers use a unique approach that’s designed to keep seniors safe and comfortable at home right where they want to be.
To ensure your loved one’s dignity, independence and self-esteem, our highly trained aides can perform in-home duties like personal hygiene, meals, light housework, medication reminders, escorted transportation and companionship. And, we’re always happy to serve as an extended family in your senior’s home so they can enjoy a higher quality of life no matter where they live! To learn more about First In Care now, or to speak to our director of nursing regarding a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com.