When was the last time you, a senior citizen, took a few minutes to assess the safety level of your living space? When did you last think about ways you could prevent yourself from becoming injured at home? If it’s been more than a year, now is the time to consider these topics.
Because June is National Safety Month, we’ve compiled a list of home safety tips for seniors. Read on to learn how you can stay safe and sound at home and avoid common injuries.
Quick Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy at Home
1. Remove obstacles – Removing obstacles in your home that could trip you is key to your safety. Also, getting some double-sided tape and taping carpets and rugs into place will help ensure that you don’t have any accidents.
2. Make your walker work for you – If you use a walker, you are aware that they are not all the same; some are much easier to navigate than others. Similarly, some are safer than others. You can make your walker sturdier and easier to use by routinely replacing the rubber tips at the base of the walker’s legs. Over time, the rubber wears smooth and can cause a walker or cane to scoot out from under you. Another great suggestion comes from the article Physical Therapists Offer Home Safety Tips to Avoid Falls: “When using a walker, your arms should be slightly bent while holding on, but you shouldn’t have to bend forward at the waist to reach it.” Last, make sure that your cane or walker is level with your wrists when your arms are at your sides.
3. Increase muscle strength – Building muscle strength is one of the most effective ways to avoid falls, slips and other accidents that often occur at home. To become stronger, you can engage in light physical activities such as walking and using hand weights and resistance bands. (Please consult your physician before undertaking an exercise routine.) If you really want to fortify yourself against falls, begin working with a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are experts at strengthening the human body and can give you all the tools you need to become stronger than you ever thought possible. Physiotherapy can even increase your balance and coordination.
4. Illuminate Your Home – Is the lighting in your house too dim? Squinting when watching the television or reading is a good indicator that your home is not well lit. Simply improving lighting by installing brighter light bulbs and placing night lights in all rooms can decrease your risk of falls and other injuries drastically. Don’t forget to light your staircases.
5. Have handrails and grab bars installed – It’s wise to have handrails lining your staircases and grab bars strategically placed to help you in and out of the bathtub/shower. The small monetary investment that goes into the installation of these home safety aids is well worth the payoff of feeling secure and preventing injury.
Celebrate National Safety Month by making your living space accident-proof. Doing so will increase your confidence and decrease your risk of being injured at home.