IS YOUR HOME SAFE & READY

FOR AGING AT HOME

AGING SAFELY AT HOME                 

















Until just recently, most homes haven’t been built with aging in place in mind.  If you want to remain in your home as you age, it’s up to you to make sure your home environment is a safe place for you to live.  

To make sure your home can accommodate your changing needs, there might be a few basic safety considerations that may require a major change, like adding a ramp, widening a doorway or making the bathroom or kitchen wheelchair accessible. 

Even if the issues are small ones (like getting rid of clutter on the steps, cleaning out the basement or garage, sorting through old and new medications, improving lighting in hallways or getting rid of throw rugs), all together they can add up to a big health or safety problem for you or your loved one. 

Ask yourself the following questions and see if the suggestions that follow can help make your home more safe and comfortable.
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FLOORS
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  1.   When you walk through a room, do you have to walk around furniture?

Move the furniture so the path is clear.

  1.   Are there throw rugs on the floor?

Remove the rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slit backing so the rugs won’t slip.

  1.   Are papers, magazines, books, shoes, boxes, blankets, towels or other objects on the floor?

Always keep objects off the floor - especially on the stairs.

  1.   Do you have to walk over or around cords or wires (like lamp cords, extension cords or phone cords)?

Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them.  Have an electrician put in extra outlets.


STAIRS & STEPS
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  1.   Are papers, shoes, books or other objects on the stairs?

Keep objects off the stairs.

  1.   Are some steps broken or uneven?

Fix broken or uneven steps.

  1.   Are you missing a light over the stairway?

Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.

  1.   Do you only have one light switch for your stairs?

Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.

  1.   Is there a sturdy handrail on only one side of the stairs?

Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs.

  1.   Is the carpet on the steps loose or torn?

Make sure the carpet is firmly attached to every step – or remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads on the stairs.


KITCHEN
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  1.   Are the things you use often on high shelves?

Keep things you use often on the lower shelves – about waist-high.

  1.   Is your step stool unsteady?

Use a steady step stool with a bar to hold on to.


BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS
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  1.   Is the light near the bed hard to reach?

Place a lamp close to the bed.

  1.   Are you able to get in and out of your bed when you need to?

        Place bedrails (even partial ones) on the side of bed you use to

        help support you as you get in and out of bed. 

  1.   Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark?

Use a night-light.

  1.   Is the tub or shower floor slippery?

Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.

  1.   Do you have some support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?

Install grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.

  1.   Is where you keep your medicine well lit and easy to reach?

        Increase the light in that area (stick-up lights, flashlight, etc.)

         Place them in a basket or carrier in an easy-to-reach area.



More Things You Can Do To Prevent Falls
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  1.   Exercise regularly.


         Exercise makes you stronger and improves your balance and coordination.


  1.   Have your doctor or pharmacist look at all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines.


         Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy.


  1.   Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.


         Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.


  1.   Get up slowly after you sit or lie down.


  1.   Wear sturdy shoes with thin, non-slip soles.


        Avoid slippers and running shoes with thick soles.


  1.   Improve the lighting in your home.


       Use brighter light bulbs (at least 60 watts).

        Use lamp shades or frosted bulbs to reduce glare.

        Use reflecting tape at the top and bottom of the stairs                         

            so you can see them better.

        Paint doorsills a different color to prevent tripping.


Other Basic Age In Place Tips
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  1.   Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone.

  2.   Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can't get up.


  1.   Consider wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can't get up.


*Source:  The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention

 
Find more help. Use our Senior checklists and organizers.CHECKLISTS_%26_ORGANIZERS_.html

Home modifications and assistive devices help make it possible for many Seniors to live safely in their homes as they age.

An uncluttered, well-lit room with well-placed furniture and good traffic flow makes it safe and easy to move around. 

This basement stairway is a safety   hazard - a fall - just waiting to happen.

As pretty as they look, plants - or anything else on steps are a safety hazard; and having handrails on both sides of the steps is always a good safety precaution. 

Grab bars in tub, shower and toilet areas provide support when getting in and out, up and down.  They don’t have to look like institutional fixtures, either!

There are many sizes of bedrails and supports, each designed for safety, ease of use and individual needs.

Poor vision increases your risk of falling.  See an eye doctor annually.

Make sure the lighting is bright but not glaring, is placed where it is most needed and is easy to reach.

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