More than 600,000 older Americans are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for injuries at home. The next time you visit your parents’ home, take the following precautions to keep them safe:
- Make sure all stairways have a handrail. Install a second handrail if necessary.
- Increase lighting on stairs. Use a two-way switch so the light can easily be turned on and off from both upstairs and downstairs.
- Remove rugs from the top and bottom of stairs.
- Install grab bars by the toilet and in the bathtub or shower.
- Add a non-slip rubber mat to the bottom of the bathtub or shower to prevent slipping. Or add a shower chair or bench for enhanced stability.
- Use nightlights in bathrooms and any hallway leading to them.
- Place a smoke detector outside of each bedroom and on each floor of their home.
- Provide adequate lighting within a comfortable reach of the bed.
- Place all emergency numbers (in large type) beside their telephone.
Living Space Safety
- Remove throw rugs and runners or use double-sided tape securely keep them in place.
- Keep it bright. With age, people need better lighting to see well. Use the highest wattage bulb recommended in lamps throughout the home. Make sure entrances, walkways and driveways are properly lit, too. Signs of Vision Loss in Aging Parents.
- Secure electrical cords against the baseboards and out of high-traffic areas.
- Move dishes and cookware your parents use regularly to easy-to-reach spots. They shouldn’t have to stand on a step stool to reach what they need.
- Inspect all ovens, stovetops and all other kitchen appliances. Make sure that they are in perfect working order.
- Make sure a fire extinguisher is available and your parents know how to use it.