Three ways to make homes safer for elderly relatives

older woman washing dishes

One of the many things the global pandemic showed was that, for most of us, the safest place to be was in our homes.

Our elderly relatives also found refuge from Covid by staying inside. With the help of family and friends, many of them were able to avoid putting themselves and others at risk.

But staying home meant that they were also exposed to dangers inside the house. Accidents still happen, even there. This makes reducing the risk of injury a valuable use of everyone’s time and efforts.

Here are three ways to help elderly relatives reduce the risk of injury, ease their worries, and retain their independence:

1.      Update their lighting

Many older people live in homes which have not been updated in some time. While furnishings, fixtures, and fittings can still be useful, even if dated, some things are important to replace.

One of them is lighting. Modern lights, such as Syndeo Plug and Play LED furniture lighting, can improve the safety of spaces by giving bright, even, reassuring visibility. This “furniture lighting” can be installed in and around places where trips and slips might occur, such as entryways, steps, and bathrooms.

It also works well under kitchen cabinets, making cooking and food-cutting safer. It helps with quality of life by reducing eyestrain. And, with the use of Passive Infrared motion-detecting sensors, your relative does not need to worry about turning lights on and off.

Another important feature is that LED lighting is more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. This matters given the current costs of fuel, especially to those on a fixed income. That fact alone might be enough to persuade them to upgrade their lighting.

2.      Improve grip on flooring and other surfaces

Injuries from falling are a major risk, with Age UK finding that more than one-third of older people say that topped their concerns before the pandemic (in 2019). That is understandable, given that nearly 100,000 older people suffered hip fractures in 2017/8.

Many of these falls are preventable. Some things, like removing, or securing rugs, can instantly help. Others, like applying non-slip wax to wooden or tiled floors, putting non-skid treads on stairs, and no-slip strips in showers and baths, take a bit more work. Unfortunately, pets can also create problems by getting underfoot. If that is a risk, having a secure area for beloved pets away from traffic areas is a must.

3.      Install safety features or home modifications

For some relatives, the changes above might not be enough. Depending on their needs, things like grab-bars in the bathroom, accessibility features like ramps and wider doorways, and emergency response systems might be needed.

Conversations about these things do not have to be awkward. This is because safety modifications help an elderly relative stay in their own home and retain their sense of independence. Ageing in place is easier than ever with modern technology. Helping elderly relatives use it is the least we can do. 

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