Everything can be ready and set to go for the holidays, but make sure you take your older relatives into consideration in your planning. Preparing your home for senior family members can create a safe and comfortable visit for them.
What Risks to Consider?
One of the biggest risks for seniors is tripping and falling, so creating an environment that minimizes this risk is important. As adults grow older, gait instability and underlying diseases, such as arthritis can decrease their mobility. In addition, there can be a loss of vision, making it more difficult to see obstacles and with decreased reaction time it makes it easier to fall.
Not only is the risk of falling higher, but there’s a higher risk of serious injury along with the falls. Many older patients are on blood thinners, so a normal hit on the head could cause bleeding on the brain. Also, bone quality deteriorates, older adults are more susceptible to fractures, particularly hip fractures.
How Many Seniors Fall Every Year?
Every year, more than 300,000 people ages 65 and older are hospitalized for hip fractures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most due to falling. The mortality rate is high: About 10 percent of patients die within one month after a hip fracture and 30 to 50 percent within a year.
By inspecting your home before guests visit, you can greatly reduce the risk of falling. From the outdoor walkway to every room where guests will spend time, make sure the pathways are clear, handholds and railings are secure, and the lighting is good throughout the home.
If you have different locations to choose from for the holidays, consider holding holiday celebrations in a single-level home to prevent incidents occurring on the stairs.
How to Make your Home Senior Safe for the Holidays?
Follow this step-by-step guide to making your home senior safe:
Outside: Walkway, driveway, steps
- Clear ice, snow and loose leaves to prevent slips/falls.
- Make sure steps are well-salted and handrails are tightened.
- Increase exterior lighting so visitors can see clearly where they are stepping and walking.
- Pick up all loose papers or items on the floor and stairs.
- Tighten all handrails so they are secure and easy to grip.
- Stairs should be well lit, with light switches at the top and bottom.
- Eliminate any potential tripping hazards, especially loose electrical cords and rugs.
- Make sure there are clear, easy paths to walk through and between every room.
- Move furniture that obstructs direct walking paths.
- Pets are a tripping hazard. Make sure they are under control, either in another room or away from visitors.
- Keep pots and pans accessible and not on top shelves, especially if older relatives like to help cook.
- Clear all kitchen obstacles. Don’t let pets or children get underfoot.
- If an older adult is spending the night, put a lamp near the bed so they can turn it on before getting up to use the bathroom at night.
- Is there a lit pathway to the bathroom? Put a nightlight in the hallway and bathroom so space is easy to navigate.
- Getting on and off toilets can be challenging. If a toilet is too low, get a raised toilet seat with bar from a home medical store or have someone help your relative.
- If your guest is using the shower, provide a bench and rails to grip if needed.
Entrust of DeSoto: A Resident-centric Memory Care Community in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.