Whether a caregiver, a family member, or just someone who likes a good party, Christmas can be a wonderful time of year to open up your house to the seniors in your life. But, of course, this invitation comes with its own unique set of challenges, as your home may not be as safe as you think it is for the elderly.
Take the time to look over the following list of tips, which will help you prepare for the most senior-friendly house in the neighborhood, guaranteeing a peaceful Christmas celebration for all ages.
Clear Away All Trip and Slip Risks
When someone is used to their own house, it’s easy to overlook how many obstructive objects lurk around every corner. From pets, to their food bowls, to children’s toys, to piles of paper, to electrical cords, to throw rugs, to foot stools… the list of these worrisome items can seem never-ending! Take a walk around your house and look out for these potential hazards. Consider rearranging your furniture if needed, to ensure that there is always a clear path from one end of the house to any other. Replace your loose rugs with non-slip products, or stick them to the ground with double-sided tape. Also be very wary of any spillage on tiles and attend to these blunders immediately, for this type of slippery threat is one of the fastest ways to make feet disappear from right under the legs.
Provide Good Lighting throughout the House
Be aware that the older someone gets, the more their eyesight may have diminished. For this reason, you should always maintain a bright atmosphere in every room, as this simple consideration could be all someone needs to notice a treacherous obstacle coming their way, and then sidestep it with ease. This cautionary advice deserves extra attention at night time, as sleepy eyes and fatigued bodies can result in careless actions, and a fall could be quick to follow. Place a lamp next to your visitor’s bed, and store a flashlight in arm’s reach too, just in case of a power failure. Additionally, you may want to think about keeping hallways lit-up with nightlights, guiding the sleepwalker to the bathroom without having to jump over hurdles.
Avert Scary Staircases
Stairs can be a nightmare for those with limited mobility. If the use of steps is unavoidable in your house (for example, at the entrance of your doorway), seriously consider installing handrails and encourage everyone to use make use of them to support their stability during the climb. In the case of wheelchair users, short of carrying them up the stairs, you can avoid all discomfort by easily setting up a portable ramp, granting them the independence to come and go as they please. For a detailed look at what ramp options are available, read more here.
Bathroom Safety Recommendations
The bathroom has the reputation as one of the most troublesome rooms in the house, due to the tricky mix of water sources and smooth tiling placed everywhere. The best defense in these circumstances is to install as many grab bars as you can, in particular next to the toilet, and in the shower. Whilst on the shower topic, why not go one step further by placing a non-slip mat on the shower floor, or even using a shower seat to support a more comfortable cleaning session for everyone. A fluffy mat on the bathroom floor itself is also an imperative safety measure to avoid slippages, and also keep in mind that if your shower door is transparent, its existence may not be as obvious as you think it is. Avoid a nasty crash by placing a bright piece of tape on the door, helping those with lesser eyesight to figure out whether it’s open or closed.
Kitchen Safety Recommendations
In order to improve your kitchen’s overall user-friendliness, move items like the microwave onto a lower, more reachable shelf, and keep the most popular items in easy to access drawers and cupboards, including all cutlery, crockery, and especially glassware. If a pair of senior hands insist on helping with the preparations, try keep the journey from the sink to the stove as short and as hassle free as possible with a clear workspace in between, as this will avoid tired arms carrying pots of water further than needs be. You may also want to consider placing a soft tape on all counter edges, to prevent any sharp run-ins which could cause bruising or, even worse, mass embarrassment. And finally, keep an eye on all sharp objects no matter who is handling them, especially when grandpa insist on carving the turkey himself.