This is a guest post by Chris Lee.
The risk of many injuries that happen in the home can be reduced with certain preventative actions, which are described in this article. Some of the proposed solutions may appear expensive but the injuries they can help to prevent can be quite serious, so due consideration should be given. The information here is intended as advice only and does not guarantee prevention of injuries, so treat this as a starting point for your action plan.
Preventing falls in the bathroom:
The bathroom is an inherently hazardous place, given that most activities therein involve water which can make surfaces slippery. As well as advising elderly bathroom users to wipe up any spills as they are made, and to ask for assistance with bathing if they need it, there are several items that can be installed in the bathroom to make it a more user-friendly place for elderly users.
The first such installation is grab bars¸ which provide a firm grip for users moving around the bathroom. Depending on the users’ mobility, grab bars can be installed in different places. Users who have trouble sitting down, for example, would benefit from grab bars near the toilet only, whereas users who are unstable on their feet may benefit from having bars installed around the room.
Non-slip mats can bolster the stability afforded by grab bars, and can reduce the risk of falling on spilled water by soaking up such spills. You should ensure that these mats have sufficient grip that they don’t slide around the floor, otherwise they may cause worse injuries than they prevent.
A range of bathing aids are also available for users who still need assistance in the bathroom. Devices are available for a range of purposes, ranging from lifts to assist users with getting in and out of the bath, to shower seats to prevent users falling over while washing in the shower, to walk-in baths which remove the need for climbing in and out of the water.
Preventing falls elsewhere in the home:
While many falls occur in the bathroom, the rest of the home is not risk-free. Again though, there are actions that can be taken to minimise the risk. The first and easiest is to remove clutter from the floor – this reduces the likelihood of injuries caused by tripping. This is especially important on the stairs – even a tiny stumble on the stairs can result in a debilitating fall. Ensure that the stairs don’t become a place where things wait to be taken between storeys of your home. As with the use of non-slip mats in the bathroom, any rugs and carpet around the house should be fixedrather than loose, to prevent injuries arising from rugs and carpet sliding out from underneath someone.
Stairs are the location of many falls in the home, but there are devices available to help elderly users navigate them. Stair lifts or handrails can be installed depending on the needs of the user, and can be vital in preventing serious injuries from occurring on the stairs.
One very helpful tip in avoiding falls is to keep the house well lit. While this may increase electricity bills, it is vital that elderly people can see where they’re going in the home. A combination of this and ensuring that the person(s) at risk have their eyesight checked and are given corrective equipment if necessary, will hopefully prevent any injuries that are caused by their not being able to see where they’re going.
I hope this article doesn’t sound too much doom-and-gloom. While there are risks present in the home, especially for elderly people, there are actions that can be taken to prevent them. Always remember that if you are worried about a loved one being at home by themselves, you can find advice on how to reduce the risks to their wellbeing at various websites on the Internet.
Author Bio: This guest post was written by Chris Lee, who writes on behalf of More Ability.