As a person ages, eyesight and mobility can decline, increasing the likelihood of accidents and falls. Fortunately, it’s possible to easily reduce risks with some simple changes. Check out these tips for making a home safe for seniors.
How to Make a Home Safe for Seniors
1. Use Rugs in Contrasting Colors
The rugs in your home should stand out visually from the floor. This makes it easier for someone with poor eyesight to detect the difference between the two surfaces and helps prevent trips and falls. Use double-sided tape to keep rugs from shifting or buckling.
2. Remove Floor Clutter to Make a Home Safe
Remove any clutter from the floor including magazines, toys, clothing, trash, and other items someone might trip over. Keep trash cans, ottomans, and coffee tables out of the walkway. Do not use extension cords across any path through the home.
3. Brighter Lighting Helps Make a Home Safe for Seniors
To aid visibility, increase lighting throughout the house. Find ways to illuminate darker areas like stairs and hallways by adding lamps or installing brighter fixtures.
4. Remove Unnecessary Furniture
When the house is full of furniture, it can feel like an obstacle course to get from one room to another. Relocate any furniture that disrupts an otherwise clear pathway. If the furniture isn’t being used, it doesn’t need to be in the home.
5. Grab Bars Around the Shower, Tub, and Toilet Create a Safe Home for Seniors
The bathroom is potentially dangerous for anyone with mobility or eyesight issues. A secure bar will help when moving from seated to standing or when entering or exiting the tub. Grab bars should be screwed securely into wall studs for maximum security and safety. This is one of several bathroom upgrades that help make a home safe for seniors.
6. Add or Reinforce Stair Rails
Every stairway in the house should have handrails that run the entire length of the staircase. If there are none, install them. If you have handrails already, make sure they securely and properly installed.
7. Reduce Water Heater Temperature to Make a Home Safe for Seniors
An easy tip for making a home safe for seniors is to lower the water heater to 120 °F. This keeps the water hot without any risk of scalding. Set the water heater at a lower temperature or call a professional to make the adjustment.
8. Move Laundry to the Main Level
Carrying a full laundry basket up or down the stairs is tricky for someone with good eyesight and great reflexes. It’s more dangerous for the elderly who may have reduced mobility. Renovate a corner of the kitchen to install a washer and dryer.
9. Add Lever Handles to Doors
Round doorknobs are more difficult for arthritic hands to grasp and turn. Lever handles are much easier for seniors to manage. A simple downward motion will open the door.