Safety ren­o­va­tions for se­niors’ homes

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Feel­ing safe and se­cure at home is a pri­or­ity for any home­owner. But safety is of par­tic­u­lar con­cern for ag­ing men and women who are at greater risk of be­ing in­volved in ac­ci­dents at home than younger men and women.

Har­vard Health Pub­lish­ing says that ac­ci­dents at home are among the lead­ing causes of in­jury and death in the United States. The chances for fa­tal­i­ties in­creases as one ages, and by age 75 and older, men and women are al­most four times as likely to die in a home ac­ci­dent as peo­ple a decade younger.

As peo­ple age, their bal­ance, eye­sight and gen­eral phys­i­cal abil­i­ties can be­gin to di­min­ish. Fur­ther­more, a fall or in­ci­dent that may only bruise a younger in­di­vid­ual can cause more se­ri­ous breaks or dam­age for se­niors, re­sult­ing in po­ten­tially lengthy re­cov­ery times.

The Home Care As­sis­tance or­ga­ni­za­tion says that one mil­lion el­derly peo­ple are ad­mit­ted to the emer­gency room for in­juries ev­ery year. Peo­ple con­cerned about the safety of their homes or the homes of their ag­ing loved ones can retro­fit such prop­er­ties to make them safer.

Falls

Ac­cord­ing to The Se­nior So­cial Club, which of­fers care and com­mu­nity ser­vices to se­niors, falls are the most com­mon ac­ci­dents af­fect­ing se­niors. One out of ev­ery three se­niors aged 65 and older falls at least once a year.

In ad­di­tion to work­ing with doc­tors to im­prove mo­bil­ity and mod­ify med­i­ca­tions that may cause un­steadi­ness, changes around the home can help. Grab bars placed in bath­rooms and high-traf­fic ar­eas can help se­niors get stay more sta­ble when chang­ing from sit­ting to stand­ing po­si­tions.

Po­ten­tial trip­ping haz­ards should be as­sessed. Area rugs with­out non­skid back­ings, clut­ter on floors, ex­ten­sion cords that ex­tend into walk­ing ar­eas, and un­even floor­ing pose trip­ping haz­ards. Anti-slip coat­ings can be added to floors to re­duce the risk of trip­ping. Poorly lit staircases and en­try­ways also can con­tribute to falls. Con­sider the in­stal­la­tion of mo­tion-ac­ti­vated light­ing so that dim ar­eas can be au­to­mat­i­cally bright­ened when nec­es­sary. A night­light or LED lights placed near mold­ing can help guide se­niors to the bath­room dur­ing mid­night vis­its.

Phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions

Arthri­tis can im­pede se­niors’ abil­ity to turn on and off ap­pli­ances, water faucets or han­dle cer­tain kitchen tools. Kitchen and bath­room mod­i­fi­ca­tions can in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of er­gonomic and user-friendly han­dles and spig­ots.

Task light­ing can make it eas­ier to pre­pare meals, and ap­pli­ances that au­to­mat­i­cally turn off af­ter a cer­tain pe­riod of time can be a safety fea­ture for for­get­ful in­di­vid­u­als. Re­or­ga­nize kitchen cab­i­nets to make com­monly used items as ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble.

Smart Homes

Friends or fam­ily mem­bers can have greater con­trol over se­niors’ homes by in­stalling smart home sys­tems. This way they can re­motely ad­just ther­mostats, con­trol lights, view cam­eras, en­gage locks or alarm sys­tems, and much more with­out hav­ing to be at the home. This can se­niors al­low se­niors to main­tain their in­de­pen­dence while of­fer­ing peace of mind to their loved ones.

Cer­tain home mod­i­fi­ca­tions can re­duce se­niors’ in­jury risk.

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