Accidents happen, it’s in the law of averages. The chances of something happening to your Mom or Dad as they age gets even greater. A 2012 online article by the Centers for Disease Control says, Each year one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. It goes on to say that this problem is largely preventable.
Some quick organizing tips to help minimize falls:
- Throw Rugs: They slip, they slide and the edges curl, all of which makes it easier for seniors to fall. Mirror the way your loved one walks through their home and pay attention to throw rugs. Is there anything you can do to make it safer? Double sided tape, eliminate the rug, washing the carpet grippers?
- Stored Boxes: Many times people store their belongings on the top shelves of closets or in the basement for easy access. Senior citizens may get wobbly on a step-stool if they try to get something down off the shelf or attempt to bring heavy boxes up from the basement or down from the attic. As we age, we are not as balanced, we may not be as strong, and it’s a little harder to bend and twist like we used to. Typically items in these areas are stored “just in case” or because “I am saving it for…” Go through those boxes now and anything that’s saved should be put in manageable clear plastic containers and packed to a manageable lifting weight. Think differently about the space and get creative to make things easily accessible. Just remember to be respectful but realistic about tossing & saving items. If items are meant for someone else, perhaps now is the time to share!
- Wires & Cords: It’s so easy to trip on these! In today’s world there are so many cords and wires to deal with: computers, phones, tablets, TV’s, chair massagers, timers, medical equipment, etc. Sometimes the extension cords cross doorways; sometimes they are jumbled under desks/tables or just running across the room. Be sure that they are safely out of the line of traffic.
- Handrails: Make sure they are sturdy. Placing a small stick-on wall saver dot on the handrail at the next to last step alerts the senior that the last step is approaching. Assess whether handrails are needed in the bath area to assist entering and exiting the tub.
- Jar Openers: Due to product tampering, manufacturers have made getting their products open extremely difficult. The extra force required to open a jar could cause it to slip, spill and shatter on the floor, potentially leading to accidents. Use devices to help reduce the force required and keep the jar securely on the counter. You’ll want to use a quality jar opener to prevent cuts and falls. One easy to use device to try is the OXO Good Grips Jar Opener.
It’s important to look at the spaces we live in a little differently to make them safe not only for senior citizens but for everyone. In early years we need to childproof homes to prevent accidents from happening. In these later years we need to make sure their homes are Senior-Safe to prevent accidents.