As we all stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s never been more important to ensure you and your loved ones have safe access to every area of the house. With almost two-thirds of slips and falls each year occurring in the home, it only makes sense to make some changes to ensure safety in each room. If you or a loved one has difficulty navigating certain areas of the house, follow our quick home safety checklist to determine which access solutions may be best to implement in your home.
Bathrooms – It is no surprise that 80 percent of falls happen in the bathroom. Many individuals who have challenges with mobility often find that standing up and sitting down positions are especially difficult. This would include the movements required to get on and off the toilet or in and out of the bath. With a few quick adjustments, you or a loved one won’t be part of this statistic.
- For additional safety and support, add a toilet incline lift to the existing toilet. This device greatly assists with the sit-to-stand and the stand-to-sit motion, allowing for independent, private toileting.
- Utilize slipâ€resistant mats inside and outside showers and tubs or where water can pool, causing surfaces to become considerably slicker.
- Place bathroom products within easy reach to prevent strain.
- Install grab bars around the tub area and wherever else assistance may be needed to maintain balance.
Floors – Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the ER for a fall. Often, small hazards that could cause a trip or fall are overlooked.
- Place small ramps, mats, or plates where there are uneven surfaces, such as in front of a door with a raised threshold.
- Make sure you have clear accessible paths and move furniture if you need to.
- Store rugs away or secure them to the floor.
- Remove all clutter from the floors such as shoes and pet toys.
- Bundle all cords from appliances, electronics, and phones.
Stairs – Outdoor stairs are a huge hazard even before age becomes a factor. Although it is best to avoid these stairs if possible, there are a few things you can do to make them safer. While we aren’t going outside as much these days due to COVID-19, it’s still important to have safe access solutions to make it to essential locations such as the doctor’s office and the grocery store.
- Fix and maintain any loose steps or handrails.
- If possible, add lighting to the stairway with a switch at both the top and bottom.
- If using stairs is not an option, consider a semi-permanent ramp or a home access lift.
Kitchen – The kitchen can be full of hazards if you aren’t careful. With age often comes a decreased reaction time, which can lead to safety issues.
- For quick access, move items from high shelves or cabinets to lower ones, or place things on the counter.
- Make sure there is a smoke alarm installed in the kitchen and a fire extinguisher is easily accessible.
- It is also a good idea to replace heavy and/or breakable cookware and bakeware with lighter weight materials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four Americans fall each year. These accidents can be prevented with just a few home modifications. Making these adjustments and using this checklist can help prepare your home to be a safer place. If you feel like you need any additional assistance in the home modification process, contact us today and talk to one of our knowledgeable team members.