Seniors face a unique set of problems that create safety concerns. For example, a person may not have the muscle strength or reflex reaction to avoid a fall that they once would have. Decreased vision can make it harder to see small obstacles, such as toys left on the stairs by a grandchild. There are many other unique obstacles as well.
It is because of these reasons, as well as the basic issues that come along with aging, the pathology that increases with age, and of course the changes in posture, hearing, muscle tone, eye-sight, cognition, etc. that you should make your home more adapted to senior problems. If you do so you will find that you are more comfortable and that your risk of harm decreases.
The other reason you should make adaptations to your home that are specific to senior problems is because your body does not heal as quickly as it once did. Chronic illness may become a problem. Injuries become more severe because bones are weaker, skin is thinner. So combine higher injury with increased risk, and it is easy to see that it would be reckless not to make some adaptations to your home.
So, what can you do?
First, you can think prevention, and be aware of the possible problems. Many falls and accidents can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes and home modifications that may increase your safety and deter falls.
- Make sure your furniture is at a good height so that it is easy to get in and out of.
- Make sure you can see the edges of stairs easily. You can use some tape on the edges to help you see it better, or even paint them. This may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but it can certainly help keep you from falling down the stairs.
- Wear fitted clothing. Things that are lose and flowing can be caught on fire at the stove, can be tripped over, or caught on things.
- Always look where you are stepping.
- Keep stairs, hallways, and other areas where you walk well lit.
- Make sure all carpets and rugs are secure so they do not present a tripping hazard.
- Install grab bars in tubs and showers to make entrance and exit easier.
- Keep non-slip rugs near the sinks and toilet areas, and anywhere water might get on the floor.
- Get a toilet seat raiser which makes getting on and off the toilet easier.
- Install a grab bar near the toilet to aid in getting off and on so you do not have to use a sink or counter.
Second you have to be willing to accept the changes in yourself. If you are unwilling to install a grab bar or seating area in the shower, and you slip and fall and injure yourself, it is because of pride. So, recognize that the reasons behind adapting your home to your age are not because that is what old people are supposed to do, but because if you do that you will be able to remain independent longer. You will be healthier because your risk decreases. You will feel better, and have the confidence to move about your home knowing that if you need a handrail for support, or a grab bar to help you up and down that it will be there, and you will not be sitting on the pot waiting for someone to come visit so they can help you get off.
The reason you should adapt your home is simple. You will be happier if you do, despite any embarrassment, cost, or aesthetic reason not to.