As far as home design for seniors is concerned, taking steps to minimize the risk of slipping and falling is a top priority. Millions of people aged 65 and older fall every year, and one out of every five falls causes a serious injury, such as a broken bone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are a number of risk factors that can make seniors likely to fall, the CDC states. Those include medications that affect steadiness and balance, vision problems, uncomfortable footwear, muscle weakness in the lower body, and issues with walking, among others. Hazards in the home like clutter and throw rugs can also up the chances that an elderly resident will trip and fall.
Luckily, making certain home design adjustments, in addition to taking other preventive measures, can significantly lower the risk of falling. Here are just a few essential tips to help seniors avoid falling at home.
1. Install grab bars and railings. The CDC recommends putting grab bars in your bathroom(s), both inside and outside the shower as well as by the toilet. Additionally, if you have a staircase, having railings on both sides will help reduce the risk of falling.
2. Make sure the home is well-lit. As we get older, it’s harder for us to see things in low light and adjust to changes in lighting levels. Proper lighting can prevent falls, as a lack of illumination can make it difficult to navigate around obstacles, according to the Aging.com article “Preventing Falls in Older Adults.”
At the same time, however, older people tend to be more sensitive to glare, so higher levels of lighting should be complemented by matte surfaces, particularly where floors are concerned.
3. Get rid of throw rugs. These rugs, along with loose carpet edges, can easily trip seniors and cause them to fall. Removing throw rugs and securing all carpet edges should be part of your home safety checklist, according to the American Family Physician article “Falls in the Elderly.”
4. Eliminate clutter. Items like electrical cords, piles of old papers, and so on can cause seniors to trip if they’re left on the floor. To reduce fall risk, you should be sure to clear all clutter out of walkways, according to the WebMD article “Older Adults: How to Avoid Falls at Home.” For more information, check out our previous blog entry “4 Essential Decluttering Tips for Seniors.”
5. See the eye doctor regularly. Seniors should see the eye doctor at least once per year, the CDC states. This will ensure their eyeglass prescription is current and they’re aware of any issues with their vision.
If you’d like to learn more about home design for seniors and how to age in place safely, feel free to contact our team of designers and senior move managers. We leverage organizational and interior design skills to help seniors in the Chicago area and the North Shore (including Evanston, Winnetka, , Highland Park, Kenilworth, and Lake Bluff, among other areas). Learn more about our services today by calling 847-769-2412 or emailing email@example.com.
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