Keeping our senior loved ones safe in their homes is a priority, this holds especially true if they have a disability that requires them to use a wheelchair or walker. Although some seniors are not willing to part with things in the home or alter their living space, it is important for them to know that it must be done so they can remain in the comfort of their own home. Family members can decide the best way to rearrange furniture or make major alterations to a home so that a senior will be safe in their surroundings. If using a wheelchair or walker is necessary, the following changes should be made to the home to ensure safety:
Clear hallways and any walking areas of clutter, cords, or furniture. A senior using a walker or wheelchair will need to have a clear path with no obstacles.
Grab bars should be installed in bath tubs/showers and also near the toilet. This is to give a senior leverage when getting in and out of the tub or up and down from the toilet. More than likely a senior will need assistance and the grab bars help in transitioning them back to a wheelchair or to a standing position at their walker.
Everything in the kitchen that is used frequently should be put into cabinets or pantries where a senior can reach them, particularly if they are in a wheelchair. You want to avoid a senior using a step stool to reach items they need, as this creates a high risk for a fall.
Bed rails can be installed on both sides of a seniors bed. This will give them leverage and support when trying to sit up or transition from the bed to the wheelchair or walker.
All carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be checked frequently to be sure they are in working order. An evacuation plan should be put in place and practiced in the event of an emergency.
A peephole should be installed at a lower level if your senior loved one is wheelchair bound. If someone comes to the door they will be able to see who it is before opening.
Area rugs or doormats might have to be removed from the floors so that a senior using a walker doesn’t get caught up on these and trip and fall. Some rugs can be securely fastened down with double-sided carpet tape; however, you will still want to be sure they don’t create a hazard for a wheelchair or a walker.
Some families might choose to do major alterations to the home, such as moving light switches and electrical outlets, lowering countertops, and widening doorways. At any rate, ensuring the safety of our senior loved ones that are overcome with a disability is very important. When they are safe, you can be more at ease.