As you get older, preparing for long term care insurance will not be your only responsibility. Making sure your home is a safe environment should also be a priority. As people get older, falls not only become more common, but they also become more dangerous. Many adults aged 65 and older are at a higher risk of suffering from accidental injury and sometimes death caused by falls. As a result, ensuring your home is “senior-proof” is critical to your safety and wellbeing. In this article, we will share an effective strategy to make your home a safer place to live in.
Improve Traction on the Floor
Begin with the basics: the floor you walk on. At first glance, it may not seem dangerous, but looks can be deceiving. Not only are falls more common as people age, but they also result in serious accidents and even fatalities. Here are a few suggestions to make your floors safer:
- Cover hardwood floors with carpet for more traction.
- Make sure the carpet is anchored to the floor.
- Consider removing high-pile carpets, as they can cause tripping.
- Also, remove throw rugs for the same reason as the removal of high pile carpets.
- If there are rugs or high-pile carpets you don’t want to get rid of, consider using rug anchors.
Simplify Home Navigation
“Navigating” the home does not seem like a real problem, but it can be as people get older, particularly if they live in a larger residence. Easy navigation depends on more space in the home. You can’t get rid of every item you own, but you should get rid of bulky furniture that is only used for decoration. Only keep the furniture you need, that way, you avoid bumping into objects that can result in injuries, such as end tables.
In addition to having lots of space, it’s important to easily access the items you frequently use. Make sure your food, kitchen appliances, clothing, and car key are easy to locate and well within reach. Additionally, make sure power outlets are not located in risky locations, such as behind heavy furniture. Determine what is most important in your daily life and make sure they are all easy to access.
Make the Stairs Safe
If you live in a home that has stairs, make the necessary adjustments to prevent accidents. As you may have guessed, the stairs can be a dangerous part of the house to navigate and can result in crippling falls. These alterations can make all the difference:
- Two railings (minimum) that are easy to grip.
- Anti-slip treads, also known as non-slip adhesive strips, should be applied to the stairs.
- Stairlifts, while more costly, are the most effective means of safely navigating the stairs – some models can even be installed in a day.
- Remove carpet runners to reduce the risk of tripping.
If it’s possible, avoid the stairs altogether. If you need to take the stairs to get to your bedroom, we understand that “avoiding the stairs” is an impossible task. However, as you get older, you may consider taking a room downstairs.
If the only staircase in your house is leading to the basement, this can be circumvented. When the time comes to retrieve something in the basement, such as important documents to get the ball rolling for your long term care insurance, consider asking a friend, family member, or neighbor to retrieve the item(s).
We understand that you probably won’t embrace all these changes willingly, as they may seem like restrictions on your life. However, it’s important to see the necessity of these tips and how drastically they will make your home safer when implemented. You care about your health, which is why you have contacted the Center for Long Term Care Planning to learn about LTC insurance or Medicare plans. Now, it’s time to take the extra step to ensure a safe home if you haven’t done so already.