Every year, almost three million adults over the age of 65 are treated in an emergency room for injuries from a fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 800,000 seniors are hospitalized and that falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries for older Americans.
One of the things you can do to prevent falls -- besides staying physically fit -- is to make your home safer. Here are some recommendations for making every room in your home safe for seniors:
- Place a lamp, telephone and flashlight near your bed.
- Sleep on a bed that is easy to get into and out of.
- Replace satiny sheets and comforter with products made of non-slip material; i.e., wool, cotton.
- Arrange clothes in your closet so that they are easy to reach.
- Install a night-light along the route between your bedroom and the bathroom.
- Keep clutter off the bedroom floor.
- Arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms.
- Keep low-rise coffee tables, magazine racks, foot rests and plants out of the path of traffic.
- Install easy-access light switches at entrances to rooms so you won't have to walk into a darkened room in order to turn on the light. Glow-in-the-dark switches may be helpful.
- Walk only in well-lighted rooms, stairs and halls.
- Do not store boxes near doorways or in hallways.
- Remove newspapers and all clutter from pathways.
- Keep cords out of walkways, but don't put cords under a rug.
- Don't run extension cords across pathways; rearrange furniture.
- Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing.
- Don't sit in a chair or on a sofa that is so low it is difficult to stand up.
- Repair loose wooden floorboards right away.
- Remove doorsills higher than 1/2" inch.
- Remove throw rugs.
- Immediately clean up any liquids, grease, or food spilled on the floor.
- Store food, dishes, and cooking equipment within easy reach.
- Don't stand on chairs or boxes to reach upper cabinets.
- Use nonskid floor wax.
Stairs & Steps
- Keep stairs clear of packages, boxes or clutter.
- Light switches should be at the top and bottom of the stairs. Or consider installing motion-detector lights that turn on automatically.
- Provide enough light to see each stair and the top and bottom landings.
- Keep flashlights nearby in case of a power outage.
- Remove loose area rugs from the bottom or top of stairs.
- Replace patterned, dark or deep-pile carpeting with a solid color, which will show the edges of steps more clearly.
- Put non-slip treads on each bare wood step.
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairway. Each should be 30 inches above the stairs and extend the full length of the stairs.
- Repair loose stairway carpeting or wooden boards immediately.
- Place a slip-resistant rug adjacent to the bathtub for safe exit and entry.
- Mount a liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub/shower wall
- Install grab bars on the bathroom walls.
- Keep a night-light in the bathroom.
- Use a rubber mat or place nonskid adhesive textured strips on the tub.
- Replace glass shower enclosures with non-shattering material.
- Stabilize yourself on the toilet by using either a raised seat or a special toilet seat with armrests.
- Use a sturdy, plastic seat in the bathtub if you cannot lower yourself to the floor of the tub or if you are unsteady.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, the experienced personal injury legal team at Roberts & Roberts is here to help with compassionate, aggressive representation. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.