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Keeping elderly family members safe in familiar surroundings as they age is possible with some planning and prevention. Whether you’re renovating an existing space or building something new, here are some tips on how to design a home that meets the needs—both physical and emotional—of your aging relative.

Tips for Keeping Your Elderly Family Member Safe at Home

Eliminate fall hazards

Falls can happen in any home to anyone, not just elderly people. However, older people are more likely to suffer fractures and injuries when they fall, and they’re more likely to be living alone without immediate assistance available. As a result, the first step in making sure a home is safe for elderly living is eliminating as many likely fall hazards as possible.

First, you’ll need to identify places where slips are likely. Throw rugs are an unexpected hazard: While they’re pretty and may add a bit of a cushion during a fall, they’re also flexible and not stable, so catching a toe under the edge of the rug can lead to a fall. Taping them to the floor or carpeting can reduce this hazard without sacrificing style. Thresholds and stairways are also likely locations for falls; making sure there are secure handrails and adding textured no-slip strips or safety steps with treads can help. Source: BobVila

Provide easier access to the bathroom

The bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the house. Can the shower be accessed without stepping over the high side of a bathtub? Is there a sturdy grab bar to get up and down from the toilet and into the shower?

“Many people just use the towel rack to hold onto, but they’re designed to hold a few pounds of towels, not 150 pounds of a person,” says Stewart, who points out that they will likely come crashing down if grabbed onto during a fall. “If you’re handy, you can install a grab bar yourself, but if not, you might want to hire someone to do it.” Source: Care

Install a medical alert system

For elderly adults living alone, a medical alert system is a must. There are basic models that involve pushing a button and smartphone-based systems for an easily accessible operation. What the different systems have in common is the ability to make contacting emergency services quick and easy no matter where you or a loved one are in the house.

Make sure you or the system’s user is comfortable with the technology. At the very least, consider buying a wearable button that you can press to dial 911 and/or alert family members or neighbors. Source: ThisOldHouse

If you need any assistance with flooring that works best for seniors, please don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a call. We know how much your loved ones mean to you, and we’re committed to making sure they have a safe place to stay at home as they age.