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Making A Home Safer For The Elderly

Jul 3, 2008
Accidents in the home are one of the major causes of injury. Over 2.6 million accidents occur in UK homes each year and around 75 percent of fatal accidents involve people over the age of 65.

The elderly are most vulnerable to accidents, particularly in and around the home. As we grow older, our senses deteriorate and we are less able to carry out everyday tasks, especially those that involve stretching, lifting, and bending. Slower reaction times and judgment also add to the risk, making us more prone to accidents. Simple measures can be taken in the home to make it a safer environment to live in and reduce the chance of having an accident.

The most common cause of injury in the home is caused by falls, slips and trips. Non slip flooring which is securely fixed and in good condition will prevent some falls, slip and trips. Rugs, and even slip mats, should be avoided as they can be a potential trip hazard. Keeping your home free of clutter and electrical cords is important, especially in hallways and pathways, as these can cause trips.

The stairs are one of the most common places for a fall so extra care should be taken to maintain these areas. Installing light switches at the top and bottom of the stairways and ensuring that they are well lit will help reduce the number of falls. Steps can be made more visible by marking the edges with coloured or reflective tape. Placing non skid strips on steps and ensuring carpets are securely fastened and free of fraying or holes will lessen the risk too. Handrails on both sides of the stairway will help you maintain your balance when climbing the stairs.

The bathroom is another place in the home where accidents take place. To make this area safer, slip resistant flooring and grab bars by the toilet, bath and shower should be installed. Bath lifts and shower seats can also help to prevent slipping or falling and are a good idea for those with mobility problems.

Poor lighting in the home can also increase the risk of having an accident as hazards can be more difficult to see. Adequate lighting throughout the home with easy to reach light switches is a must. It is advisable to use 100W bulbs in dimly lit rooms and where possible use long life light bulbs as they do not need to be changed so often. Night lights are also a good idea, especially in hallways, stairways and between the bedroom and bathroom.

Furniture in the home should also be taken into consideration. Many old people use furniture to hold on to while moving around the home and should therefore be sturdy and able to support the weight of an adult without toppling over. Armchairs and sofas should not be too low or deep and should have full arms to aid in sitting and rising.
About the Author
John Mce writes on behalf of the Stannah Group, the leading supplier of stairlifts, chair lifts, passenger lifts, platform lifts and goods lifts. View their range of products and services at http://www.stannah.com.
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