As we grow older, our living arrangements may evolve, and we may find ourselves spending more time at home. While a home may be the safest place for us, it is important to ensure that safety in the home is a top priority.
Home safety education is essential, especially for patients who are homebound. Physical therapists and occupational therapists can offer valuable guidance when they come to your home, educate you on safety, and can recommend practical strategies to help prevent accidents and injuries, especially in the elderly.
Remove tripping hazards.
These are a major cause of falls, especially for the elderly. Here are some tips for removing tripping hazards from your home:
This includes things like area rugs, if you can’t remove them, secure them with double-sided tape or non-slip rug pads.
Tuck away electrical cords, don’t leave them lying on the floor where someone could trip over them. Move low tables and chairs out of the walkways. If you have to keep them in walkways, make sure they have non-slip mats on the bottom. If you have pets, be sure to keep their toys picked up as well. Pets’ toys can be a tripping hazard, so make sure to pick them up after your pet is done playing with them.
Make sure your home is well-lit.
This is especially important in areas where you may be walking in the dark, such as the stairs or hallway. Replace burned-out light bulbs. Install motion-sensor lights in dark areas, such as the garage, basement, and entryway. Use brighter light bulbs, such as LED bulbs. Avoid using lamps with cords that can be tripped over. Place lamps where they won’t be knocked over easily.
Keep your home clean and organized.
This will help prevent accidents from happening. Declutter regularly. Get rid of items that you no longer need or use. Put things away where they belong. This will help you find things when you need them, and it will also help to prevent clutter. Create a system for organizing your belongings. This could involve using labels, bins, or baskets.
Consider getting a home health aide or personal care assistant.
This can help you with tasks that may be difficult or dangerous for you to do on your own. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist. They can help you assess your needs and make recommendations for finding a qualified caregiver. Get references. Ask for references from potential caregivers and check them out. Interview potential caregivers. Ask questions about their experience, qualifications, and availability. Be sure to discuss your expectations with the caregiver, such as the tasks you need help with, the hours you need care, and your budget. Create a contract. A contract can help protect both you and the caregiver. It should include the terms of employment, such as the hours of work, the rate of pay, and the duties of the caregiver.
Home safety education is important for everyone, but it is especially important for the elderly.
By following these tips, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe at home.
- Home safety assessments.
Physical therapists can conduct home safety assessments to identify potential hazards in the home and make recommendations for modifications. This includes checking for clutter and tripping hazards, and making recommendations for how to organize and declutter the home. Physical therapists can also assess the patient’s ability to perform everyday tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking, and make recommendations for how to make these tasks easier.
Physical therapists can provide education and training on fall prevention techniques, such as tai chi, balance exercises, and strength training. These exercises can help improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls. Physical therapists can also provide guidance on how to make the home safer, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom and shower, and removing clutter from walkways.
Physical therapists can help patients find and use adaptive equipment, such as grab bars, canes, and walkers, to help them stay safe in their homes. For example, grab bars can be installed in the bathroom and shower to help patients get in and out of the tub safely. Canes and walkers can provide support and stability when walking, which can reduce the risk of falls.
In addition to making physical changes to your home, it is also important to be aware of potential hazards and take steps to prevent accidents. For example, you should never smoke in bed, and you should be careful when using hot water or appliances. You should also make sure that you have enough food and water on hand in case of an emergency.