Safety measures at old age – A few important points to note

Old age is most prone to accidents due to slipping, and it may take a long time to replenish. In some cases, old condition can never be restored back it the person is too old.

In many cases, old parents stay alone at home while their kids are out for work. Now it’s the era of atomic families with less number of kids and both husband and wife go out for work. In some cases, their kids work abroad and it may not be easy for them to pay frequent visits. Even if someone is present at home, occurrences of certain accidents such as slipping in bathroom are not avoidable. So the better solution is to ensure the safety of parents and grandparents within the four walls of the house.

We can keep note of a few points while designing the interior of our homes to ensure more safety to senior members of the family. Let them celebrate their old age in a grand way, and it’s our duty to support them. Make a note of these few points given below.

Ensure the safety of senior members

The concept of old age homes has slowly started dwelling in Indian societies also. Now we live in a society where the concept of old age homes has received a warm response in the recent times. But such conditions are quite different from what’s practiced in at least a few foreign countries.

In many foreign countries, there is a practice where old people sell all their properties and shift to small apartments. There are many communities which work in the same idea also. Though they live in own apartments, every help will be available in finger tips. Yet many people love to spend their last days in their own homes, where they built their own dreams, and a society where they have a lot of friends. There are many projects and associations in countries like US, which help people to live in their own homes during their last days, providing them with all helps needed. This concept is called ‘Aging in Place’, which ensures the safety and security of people with age 60+ in their own homes. Following this concept, we can also ensure the safety and security of our dear ones at our homes itself.

Our houses when designed and built, we take into account the present age of its family members only. We often forget that we get old as time passes by and a house is built for at least two generations to stay. Everyone tries to beautify their interior and exterior lavishly using well-polished tiles and other expensive decorations. Designers also try maximum to give a sparkling look to interior. But when you build home, you should keep in note of the health and safety of senior members as well. Also, after 10 or 20 years, your dream home is definitely to stay. But you might have entered your old age. Keep these things in note when you design your home, so that you can make necessary changes easily in distant future with less cost. In short, not only while renovating homes, but also for building new homes, keep this fact in mind – Old age is applicable to everyone.

So you can make small changes in your home design, so that it well suits senior members or the old age you will go through in the years to come. Such safety measures include convenience for elder members to cook food in kitchen, use bathroom without tension and walk freely in the indoor.

Let’s avoid falls and slips

We have heard many incidents in the recent times about old people with age70 or 80 +. They don’t have any serious health issues. But a sudden fall in bathroom or corridor ended everything. A few of them never returned back to life, while the rest need the help of a walking stick to spend their rest days. Some injuries, if you have passed a certain age are not easy to repair, it takes a long time and even if replenished, it badly affects the person’s health. How many deaths have we witnessed in the recent times the similar way? Doesn’t the worst design of interiors including bathrooms played a magnificent role in the death of many of these people?

Prevention is always better than cure. So we need to ensure safety to our elder ones within our interior by creating an atmosphere where they can live without fear of fall or similar accidents. Keep note of these points.

1. Let’s start with flooring. Shining granite and vitrified tiles add elegant beauty to home interior. But a few drops of water can rewrite the whole script. Floor with moisture content may not be easily visible to old people’s sight. If they happen to fall, they can be badly wounded. Floors with grip tiles are best for the rooms of senior members.

2. You can fill the floor of their room with thin carpet, not too thick. It can prevent from slips and falls a lot. You can also try cork and rubber flooring. You can also try Linoleum or Vinyl flooring with thin pads at the remote end. It reduces slips, and even if they fall down, it reduces the intensity of falls and injuries. Such flooring carpets are available in attractive colours and shades.

3. Avoid carpets and mats which give more chances for slipping. Use ones with rubber backing which never fold at the tips avoiding damages. You can fix them on floor with taps also.

4. You can provide handrails on corridors for those members who have difficulties to walk due to old age problems.

5. The chance of falls in high in bathrooms. Vitrified tiles give more chances also. Providing tiles with grips is the best solution. Rubber flooring, Linoleum or Vinyl can be experimented as well.

6. Grab bars can be fixed on bathroom walls which help them to walk easily inside bathroom, and avoid falls. You can also add provisions to sit and bath for elder members, without affecting the beauty of bathroom. Now special chairs and walk-in bathtubs are readily designed for this purpose.

7. Hand showers and lever taps are easy for elders to use. Height of toilet seat should well suit the user, in accordance with the height of the person and for that purpose seats with adjustable heights can be used. Toilet safety frames can also be fixed on floor which helps them to sit properly and get up easily.

8. Well polished door handles may not be easy for senior members to use. If they won’t get easy grip while opening the door, it may result in falls leading to injuries. Grip covers are available in market. You can put these covers on door handles and knobs to avoid dangers. Grip covers with fluorescent materials can also be used in bed handles, which elder members use to get up from bed. If so they can get up from bed easily at nights so that they can go to bathroom.

9. If elder members use kitchen to prepare dishes, place accessories at short distance easily accessible. It’s not easy for elder members to take things from cupboard drawers at height. Arrange things in your kitchen so that they can handle them easily. Height of sink and countertops should be in accordance with the height of the person who uses the kitchen to reduce stress to body parts.

10. Arrange things and decorations in your interior such a way that you can freely walk inside. Never fill the room of senior persons with too many furniture. Avoid furniture with sharp edges.

While using staircases

1. As age passes by, it becomes difficult to use staircases. So it’s always a nice decision to arrange elders’ room in ground floor. If you can’t avoid staircases, construct them broad, and steps should have height less than 4 inches. Also provide handrails for better grips.

2. Stair lifts are also available which can be used for elder persons. It’s a chair fixed in a rail on one side of the staircase. It functions on electricity and is provided with seat belts and provision to adjust the speed. Stair lifts which can carry wheelchairs are also available, but they are expensive.

3. Avoid steps at the front door if possible. If not possible, at least reduce the height of steps. Also ensure that roof is built in such a way that rain water won’t fall on the steps. Take care while using carpets as there are more chances for slips.

4. You can construct broad doors without steps which can allow the easy passage of wheelchairs. While preparing your dream home, you can make this provision keeping these ideas in mind. 32 inches is the minimum width of the door if you want to provide this provision.

5. Even half-inch height than ground level invites dangers. Provide lightning arrangements in such a way that each corner of the room is easily visible. Give extra care for your bed rooms in this case. Arrange a light switch near your bed that can be put on and off easily, which helps old members to go to bathroom.

6. If old people stay alone in homes, ensure their safety frequently and give importance to maintenance work to their home also.   

Image source: Pixabay

Also read a few more topics related to documentation, insurance and safety of your home. Click on the images in the gallery to read

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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