Have you ever heard someone tell their children, “I changed your diapers when you were a baby so you’d be there for me when I’m old?” It might not always work out that way, but many times we find ourselves in a situation where the roles of the family are reversed when it comes to caring for aging parents.
Remember how you studied up on toddler proofing your home before your first child was born? Your parents did that for you too. Now it’s time to senior-proof your parent’s home, to help keep them safe. But this time, instead of worrying about little fingers going into light sockets, we’re more worried about falls.
According to the CDC, one out of three people over the age of 65 fall each year, and one out of every five falls causes serious injuries such as broken bones or head injuries.
Here are a few things to do around the house to help keep your loved ones safe.
- Make sure your home is well lit, especially places like halls, stairways, porches and outdoor walkways. If necessary add lighting to these places, with nightlights indoors or solar outdoor lighting.
- Create clear fire escape routes, and make sure everyone knows the emergency plans for fire, tornado or earthquake.
- Move furniture and electrical cords out of walkways.
- Repair any loose carpet or raised areas of flooring.
- Install railings on both sides of stairways.
- Install grab bars in the shower and on the wall by the toilet.
- Put in a raised toilet to make sitting down and getting up easier.
- Get a reaching tool to access things on high shelves, to avoid step stools.
- If you do need a step stool, make sure it is one with rails.
- Make sure all fire and smoke alarms are working, and change the batteries twice a year.