Because the likelihood of being injured due to a fall or other type of mishap in the home increases substantially with age, it's important to craft a senior-friendly environment to keep your senior loved one as safe as possible in the home. Following are three tips for creating a home environment that minimizes the risk of injury.
In the Kitchen
Senior-friendly kitchens feature bright, direct lighting over sinks, countertops, ranges, and any other commonly used work spaces. Appliances and cabinets that are set at countertop level help eliminate risks of injuries caused by reaching up or down to use appliances or retrieve ingredients, utensils, or gadgets. For instance, bending over to unload the dishwasher sometimes results in the loss of balance, creating a significant slip-and-fall risk. Having light switches at all entry points is essential to the prevention of mishaps occurring if the senior wants a midnight snack.
In the Bathroom
Most people already know that having safety bars installed near the toilet, sink, and tub are an essential part of bathroom safety, and you're probably also aware that non-slip flooring is mandatory in these situations. It's also important that your senior be able to get in and out of the tub and shower safely and easily. Walk-in showers and cut-outs in the sides of tubs allow better access, but many people wind up overlooking the obvious -- the shower door.
Sliding shower doors are often a safety hazard in their own right because they can come off their tracks unexpectedly. Even worse, glass shower doors have been known to shatter. A solid, heavy-duty plastic or vinyl door that opens and closes via hinges is a far better choice for senior-friendly bathrooms than doors made from glass or those on sliders.
In the Living Room
Because area rugs provide significant potential for slip-and-fall accidents, they shouldn't be used in homes where a senior-friendly environment is important. Hardwood becomes slippery when wet or when maintained with products that leave a wax finish. Although non-slip vinyl, ceramic, and linoleum can work well in living rooms, many prefer the extra warmth and aesthetic appeal provided wall-to-wall carpeting. If this option is selected, be sure it's short-pile, easy-care carpeting that's made of quality materials so it doesn't easily rip and tear.
Living room furniture should never be so low or soft that the senior has a difficult time getting up -- always test the furniture thoroughly for this sort of issue before bringing it home. For more information, contact a business such as California Reflections Inc.