When most people think about accidents that occur with aging, they imagine tripping in a store or falling on a slick sidewalk outside, but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention a surprising 60% of falls happen at home. Since homes can be a veritable minefield of accidents, home modifications should be made as you age to lower the likelihood of trips and falls and to make your home safer overall.
There are many products out on the market that can make your home safer for an aging adult, such as bathroom bars, motion sensor lighting, and rubber grips to help keep rugs and carpeting in place. But a surprising number of accidents can be avoided through simply arranging the furniture and layout in your home. Here are four quick living room modifications that will make your home safer for elderly friends and family.
1. Re-arrange furniture to allow for a 4-foot diameter for walking spaces. A 4-foot wide walking area will ensure that there’s no bumping into anything and allows plenty of space for the use of a cane or walker.
2. Make sure there are no sharp edges around walking spaces. Sharp edges can be an even bigger danger for someone if they fall, so make sure that furniture is arranged in such a way that sharp corners and edges are flush against the wall or at least out of any walking paths in the room.
3. Move light switches and thermostats for easy reaching. Thermostats, lights, and other types of switches can sometimes be attached too high to a wall. Make sure that they’re easily reachable so that no standing on a chair or a stool is necessary to make an adjustment.
4. Add lighting or railings to areas around stairs and sunken living spaces. Homes that have multi-levels and use a few stairs to reach the living areas can be a hazard for the elderly. Adding bright overhead lighting or additional railings in those areas can decrease the possibility of a fall.
Handyman Matters offers aging in place services to help you and your loved ones remain independent and safe at home. By implementing universal design elements in bathrooms, kitchens and through the house, we can help you transform your home into a living space that functions efficiently for all ages and conditions. Let us perform our 50 point assessment on your home to uncover risks you might be facing. Call Handyman Matters today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.