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Aging in Place  /  April 22, 2022

4 Home Improvements To Help Prevent Falls

Prevent falls for seniors

Elderly people have more risk factors for falls, including medication side effects, balance impairments, and vision problems. Injuries from falls also tend to be more severe for seniors, in part due to underlying conditions such as osteoporosis. Falls are the fifth leading cause of death among the elderly, accounting for 40% of fatal injuries among people 65 or older. Some people think that it is necessary for elderly people to move into nursing homes or assisted living to prevent falls. However, there are certain home repairs for seniors that reduce fall risk while still allowing for aging in place.

1. Improve Lighting

One of the reasons why elderly people may slip and fall is that they do not see obstacles or hazards in their path. This may be partly because of vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration, but it may also be because the lighting is not adequate to illuminate the path in front of them. It can help to install brighter light bulbs, but if the existing fixtures cannot handle the extra wattage, it may be necessary to replace them as well. Passages such as stairways and halls often do not have adequate lighting. More fixtures may have to be installed to provide proper illumination. Everyone, but especially the elderly, is at increased risk of tripping in the dark while trying to go to the bathroom at night. Nightlights in these areas can help guide the way without lighting up the room so much as to be disruptive.

2. Install Handrails and Grab Bars

Going up and down stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub, and getting on and off the toilet can all be more difficult for people who are older. Handrails can help keep seniors steady when going up and down stairs. Most staircases already have a railing running along one side, but adding one on the other side can provide extra stability.

Bathrooms can be dangerous for seniors not only because of the difficulty of getting around but because water can make bathroom surfaces slippery, increasing the risk for falls. Grab bars installed around the toilet and the showers can provide extra security, and if an elderly person does slip, they can prevent a fall.

3. Remove Clutter

Fall prevention isn’t just about adding new safety devices and lighting fixtures to the home. It may also be about taking things away. Accumulated clutter, such as old magazines, newspapers, or boxes, can pose a tripping hazard by obstructing the walking path. Clutter should either be discarded or removed from the walking path, possibly to a basement, attic, or an off-site storage facility. Keeping the home neat and tidy is one of the easiest ways to prevent falls.

4. Repair Tripping Hazards

If an item of home décor, such as a throw rug, is posing a tripping hazard, it should be removed. However, sometimes the tripping hazard is not easy to remove, such as a floorboard that sticks up or a carpet that has come loose. Hazards such as loose floorboards should be repaired. Loose carpet should be torn out and either replaced with new carpet or with a sturdier flooring material that is less likely to wear out. If the flooring underneath the carpet is still intact, it may be sufficient to remove the carpet. Homeowners should assess every room systematically to determine if it has repairs such as these that need to be done to prevent tripping.

Rely on Handyman Connection for Home Repairs for Seniors

We provide repair services in Kelowna geared specifically toward aging in place. Find out more about what specific updates we can make to help you remain in your home safely.

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