4 smart steps to improve home safety for seniors
Here are some effective ways to keep older adults safer at home.
Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, according to the National Council on Aging. They are also the number one cause of death in adults age 71 and older. There are other hazards lurking around the house that can be dangerous for seniors, too. Following these tips can prevent injury and make homes safer.
1. Remove tripping hazards – Almost 38,000 older adults a year go to the emergency room after tripping over carpets or rugs. Get rid of area rugs and secure loose carpeting. Remove clutter off of floors, put treads on steps and make sure handrails are secure.
2. Add some light – Being able to see where you're going makes the path safer. Make sure the bulbs work in all lights. Install night-lights. Add timers so lights go on and off automatically. Leave a flashlight by the bed in case light is needed in the middle of the night.
3. Make the kitchen safer – Store pots, pans and dishes at waist level. Out-of-reach items increase the chance of falls. Install timers and motion sensors to turn off ovens and stovetops if unattended. People over the age of 65 are 2.5 times more likely to die in a kitchen fire than the general population, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
4. Don't forget the bathroom – Slippery floors from water on hard surfaces make bathrooms dangerous. Install grab bars inside and outside of the shower or tub to help provide balance. Non-skid mats make floors less slippery. Install anti-scald devices to prevent burns because older skin may be more sensitive to heat and reaction times are slower.