A person’s home is their castle, whether it is an apartment, house or assisted living residence. It should be a place of rest, comfort and safety. Seventy-five percent of falls occur at home. Of these, 50% are caused by environmental factors.

Steps can be taken to help prevent falls and ensure your older parent’s safety in their home. Listed below are ten easy adaptations that can be made to any home to lessen an older person’s risk of falling:

1. Remove throw rugs and secure carpet edges
It is so easy to catch a toe on the edge of a carpet that does not lie flat, or skid on a slippery throw rug. To solve these problems, apply double-sided tape to the edge of any loose carpeting. Purchase skid-resistant mats to place under throw rugs or remove them entirely.

2. Evaluate lighting
Is the entryway properly illuminated? Are nightlights set to illuminate the path from the bedroom to the bath? Are light switches accessible in each room? Having to cross a darkened room to turn on a lamp is dangerous. Make switches available at the entrance to each room or consider the “clapper?switch to turn on a lamp. Use nightlights to illuminate the pathway from the bed to the bathroom.

3. Double rail all stairs
Adding a railing on both sides of a stairway increases the opportunity to recover from a mis-step or moment of imbalance. Make certain rails are securely attached to wall studs.

4. Install Bathroom Safety Bars
Most falls occur in the bathroom where floors can be wet and slippery. Safety grab bars (not towel racks) should be installed in the tub/shower stall as well as by the toilet. A plastic shower chair or tub bench allows the bather to sit rather than stand during a shower. Use a hand-held shower attachment in conjunction with the shower chair to avoid unnecessary standing.

5. Hide loose wires and extension cords
Any visible wire or cord can become a fall hazard. Tape down cords or tack them along the floor edge to minimize tripping. Consider a hand-held portable phone so the telephone can always be close by your loved one.

6. Eliminate clutter on floors
Scan the floor surface. Eliminate stacks of newspapers or magazines. Remove or reposition decorative items so they are not in the commonly used walking paths. Ensure that heating vents or radiators are clear of any flammable objects such as wicker baskets or magazine racks.

7. Use a rolling cart between kitchen and dining room
Spills and burns are always a concern when transporting dishes to and from the kitchen. To help prevent accidents and lessen the risk of falls, use a small, rolling cart to transport hot plates and glasses. This cart is an ideal companion for anyone using a cane or walker.

8. Raise chair height
The rule of thumb is that the lower the height of the chair seat, the more energy it requires to get in and out of. An important safety consideration is how easy it is to get out of a seated position in the event of an emergency. By raising the height of a seat with an additional pillow or pad, less strain on the leg muscles is required and energy is conserved. The ideal seat is not a recliner, but rather a firm, stable armchair.

9. Simplify the Entrance
Consider installing a keyless deadbolt lock to simplify entry into a home. Fumbling for keys can not only be frustrating, but also increase the risk of injury or danger. Falls can occur as an older person is rushing to avoid inclement weather, carrying packages and trying to unlock the door with a key. An adapted door handle with keyless entry is also recommended for people with wrist pain due to arthritis.

10. Mark Top and Bottom Steps
Aging can cause changes in how steps are perceived by an older person. To help prevent falls, mark the top and bottom step with a different color paint or tape to distinguish it clearly from the floor.

Author's Bio: 

Jane R. Yousey, OTR/L is The Aging Coach.The Aging Coach: Perfect when life with your older loved one isn’t. My products and services offer families and caregivers customized strategies, support and solutions for all of life’s challenges involving older loved ones.

The Aging Coach helps families and caregivers to:

o Enhance the quality of life of their older loved ones
o Learn to balance daily relationship demands
o Better understand the normal aging process
o Gain tools to manage transitions and change
o Develop skills to set clear, guilt-free boundaries
o Create more time and energy to give to others
o Gain clarity and direction to make better decisions
o Improve support systems within families

Visit my website at :www.lifedesigncoach.com or email me at