With age comes a range of benefits, from financial stability to wisdom of experience. However, as you begin to enter your senior years, you may experience issues with mobility, vision, and balance that can increase your risk of having a falling accident. And considering that 60 percent of fall-related injuries in seniors occur at home, you give yourself a better chance of staying safe by making modifications to your house that will enhance your ability to navigate through it.
Safe, Sound, and Simple
If the thought of making changes to your home is intimidating, you should know that, for the most part, all it takes is a few simple tweaks instead of a full-blown renovation. Increased lighting, for example, does not mean you have to install new light fixtures, but changing the brightness of the bulbs and adding a few lamps throughout the house will go a long way toward countering your eye’s waning ability to utilize available light. HomeAdvisor points out that light should remain consistent from room to room, including throughout the hallways and staircases.
Just as our eyes change, so too does our ability to balance, especially on wet surfaces. In the bathroom, grab bars will give you a surface to hold onto as you get out of the tub. Take a look at these ADA Grab Bar Requirements to get an idea of how they should be installed. If you want to make even more drastic changes to your bathroom, there are companies that can come in and replace your tub with a walk-in shower without reconfiguring your bathroom’s footprint.
A modification that doesn’t require any financial commitment is to simply declutter your home. Decluttering your home is an ongoing process, but should start with moving your furniture around so that you have a logical and easy-to-follow path from room to room. Further, things like area rugs, stray wires, and inconveniently placed pet beds, all create a falling hazard. Remember, an organized home is even more important as you age and can significantly increase your chances of being able to age in place.
The structure of your home is not the only factor that determines your risk of falling. According to the National Council on Aging, your health also matters. If you take prescriptions, make sure to keep a list and have an open conversation with your doctor and/or pharmacist, who can help determine if there are any potential interactions that might cause dizziness, drowsiness, or other issues. Even more importantly, if you drink alcohol, keep in mind that your ability to remain balanced and upright are more affected. When drinking, try to stay on one level and avoid getting up and down quickly. Even mild intoxication significantly increases your risk of falling.
Recovery Becomes More Difficult
As a senior, your body is less able to heal from accidents. A broken bone now, and especially a fractured hip, can lead to long-term health conditions and can make it considerably more challenging to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. For this reason – and to enhance your overall quality of life – it’s crucial to address potential issues now before you have an accident.
To live independently throughout the senior years is the goal of many older adults. If you want to do just that, you will need to be honest with yourself as you evaluate your environment, habits, and health. So, make the necessary changes to increase your safety.
Image via Pixabay
Article courtesy of Kent Elliot, athomeaging.info