Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stability And Mobility Through Age In Place Renovations


As loved ones age caregivers need to start putting in place a plan against home accidents.  Aging inplace is becoming more common as loved ones are living longer and are more independent than in past decades. Assisted living a popular option also however many senior prefer to maintain their quality of life and independent living for as long as possible.  This leads to aging in place safety procedures being instituted in homes.
One issue that often arises as loved ones ages is the loss of balance and stability.  This often leads to falls that then grow into large issues such as broken hips or fractures.  The best thing we can do as caregivers is to eliminate the possibilities that make our senior higher risk.  It is impossible to offer them more balance on their own so establishing the aid around the house to offer this while removing obstacles is the key element in keeping seniors safe while aging in place.
The main area to begin with is the floors.  This is obvious as it is where mobility happens.  Observe the room.  Look for obstacle as you walk through, in and around the room.  Is there furniture everywhere?  Is it too tight to maneuver with the use of a cane or walker?  Are there rugs scattered about or loose carpets?  How about magazines, papers, dog beds and extra debris that is not necessary cluttering the floor area?  Also examine any cords for lamps, phones and other miscellaneous items often around the home stored on the floor.  Even fan and humidifier cords are hazards in moving about one’s home in a safe manner. 
Now that you have narrowed down what needs to be taken care of it is imperative to proceed with a plan that with alleviate the issues permanently.  Picking up newspapers and magazines is terrific however in itself inefficient.  A place to store future items safely is also needed.  Furniture that is over abundant should be scaled down to make room to maneuver safely about.  Throw rugs should not be placed on the floors of homes in which aging seniors are living.  They are just too easy to trip over when balance is already compromised.  Some safety experts allow for double sided sticky tape to be used but it is honestly a better option to rid the home of them.  Cords should be eliminated all together if they are in the path of a walk way.  You can either remove the element that needs electricity or add outlets so that cords can be secured against a wall.
Steps and stairs are tricky enough for older adults.  Make sure that there is plenty of lighting, sturdy handrails and carpets that are secured to the stairs.  Check to ensure there are light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.  Also make sure that nothing is on the stairs that could act as an obstacle such as books, shoes or laundry baskets.
Kitchen safety, bathroom safety and bedroom safety are also major concerns as caregivers to those who are aging in place.  It is important to make sure everything is in reach and stools are not necessary to reach higher items.  Lighting is also important.  It is hard to maneuver around a room when the light is low.  Install extra lighting and multiple nightlights around the house for easy visibility for loved ones.  The bathroom is the number one spot in the home for an accident to occur.  Ensure safety with the use of grab bars, transfer chairs in the tub and non-slip mats installed.
Preventing falls is the main objective.  Make sure your loved one is getting plenty of exercise and keeping mobility at a premium.  Review medicines prescribed to make sure the side effects do not include dizziness or loss of balance. Have a loved one wear shoes while inside is also beneficial as they offer general support and extra grip to the floor.  If a fall does happen ensure that your loved one knows what to do.  It is important to have phones on every floor and emergency numbers programmed into them encase a fall does occur.  Aging in place does not have to be scary as long as precautions are taken and extra care is given to areas taken for granted by most of us.

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