A few years ago it was estimated that the population of seniors aged above 65 years would become 10.4 million in Canada over the next 25 years, making them constitute about one quarter of the total population by 2036. And it looks like the country is well on its way towards it.
With a significant share of the population being seniors, ageing is seen as more of a lifestyle in Canada than a shift in the living habits, because seniors almost always prefer ageing in their own homes. It is understandable considering the fact that they are probably already going through quite a bit of physical and emotional changes; they would indeed want to be comfortable in their own homes. Hence, it is up to the caregivers to ensure a safe environment at home for their senior loved ones. And it is definitely not something that can be taken lightly.
As per several statistics, falls account for a major cause of injuries among senior citizens aged 65 years and above in Canada. And to make matters worse, further research proves that these falls lead to about 95% of all hip fractures among seniors, 20% of which almost always leads to death.
As scary as these figures may sound, it is nothing that can’t be avoided with some extra care and attention by the senior caregivers. Dr. Ellen Binger of HaloHealthCare.COM suggests that a few minutes spent at the senior loved one’s home every year monitoring their home environment and infrastructure can save everyone from a slew of miseries.
Flaws found must be corrected and safety must be ensured throughout the home environment, including the neighborhood.
Here is a practical guide on some of the best home improvements that you can make for your senior loved one’s safety.
Install grab bars wherever needed
Needless to say, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the house for seniors. Hence it is always a good idea to install grab bars near the toilet and near the bath or the shower so the seniors can have something to hold on to when they do lose their balance for some reason.
Similarly, if their house includes long corridors or big rooms where the chairs or tables or any kind of furniture is far away, grab bars on the walls would probably be a good idea as well. They are easily available in hardware stores and they are pretty cheap to install as well. So, the more hand bars the better.
Regular lighting sources may not be enough in a senior’s home, owing to obvious reasons like deteriorated eyesight along with other physical disabilities. Accidents always happen to seniors because of a lack of proper sight of where they are going and what exactly they are doing. If there are sharp objects in a room of if there are any broken glass objects in a room, insufficient lighting can lead the seniors right in to cuts and wounds. Hence the senior loved one’s home should always be well lit, with a good number of light bulbs in every room, corridor and stairway. There are many energy-efficient and bright light bulbs available in the market these days. Install bulb holders and put light bulbs everywhere. Make sure that their toggle switches are also easily reachable.
Put anti-slip rugs in all rooms and bathrooms
If the floors are extra polished and squeaky clean, then there might be a chance of slippage for the seniors. Rugs are a great way to make the room look good and at the same make for a non-smooth surface in the room. However, care should be taken to ensure that the rug is anti-slip, that is, it should have an uneven gripping surface so that it sticks to the floor.
Additionally, grip tapes can also be used around the rugs to make them stay in place. This will help the seniors walk about without the risk of slipping and falling down.
Use less furniture and eliminate excess pieces
Sometimes the home of a senior may be filled with décor objects and fancy looking furniture; so much so that it would practically be difficult for them to move from one room to another without exerting too much. This should be avoided by all means. Remove all excess furniture and décor from all rooms so that there is enough room for them to move freely, especially on the way to the bathroom or the bedroom. In case they have to rush, an extra chair or a fancy vase sitting on the floor can affect them badly.
Apart from all these, simple changes can also be made to the house such as changing the round door knobs to lever-style ones or painting the stairs with contrasting colors to make it easy for the seniors in many ways. As mentioned before, a little attention and care every year can go a long way.