If you’re planning to host elderly guests in your home, there are a few things you should consider doing before they arrive to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit. Certain aspects of your home may not be dangerous to you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe for seniors. Anything from a loose rug to a misplaced wire can present a tripping hazard, which puts senior visitors at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults over age 65 will experience a fall each year, and 20 to 30 percent of these individuals will sustain moderate to severe injuries as a result. To avoid this scenario all together, you can take a few steps to prepare your home for when your senior relatives, friends, or neighbors come to visit.
Declutter the Interior of Your Home
The first step you should take to make your home safe for seniors is to clean. Focus on the floors around your home, and be sure to pick up any items that could present a tripping hazard. For instance, if a power cord is running along a space where a senior might walk, it’s best to remove it or secure it to the ground. You should also be on the lookout for small pieces of furniture and any clutter, especially near doorways or on staircases. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends removing any rugs that are not secure. You can also use nonslip rugs and adhere double-sided tape to the underside of throw rugs.
Rearrange Furniture to Make Rooms Safe for Seniors
You may also want to consider the layout of your furniture. There should be enough space for elderly guests to navigate between tables and chairs with ease, according to the NIH. You should also think about the layout of the items in your home in terms of providing balance. Giving seniors the ability to grip chair backs and tabletops will make it easier for them to move around the home. Putting a small, sturdy table in the bathroom can be a good impromptu support if you don’t already have a handrail in place.
Outside Is Just as Important as Inside
The exterior of your home needs to be safe for seniors, as well. Ensure there are no fallen leaves, tree branches, or large rocks in the walkway leading up to your home. During colder months, clear away any snow or ice, and lay down some rock salt, sand, or other deicer to reduce the risk of slipping. The walkway should also be well lit, so check the bulbs on any outdoor lighting you may have. If there are no lights outside, you can find inexpensive options, like solar stake lights that can be placed along a walkway and don’t even have to be installed.
These simple tasks won’t take much time to complete, and your guests are sure to appreciate the efforts you made. Taking the time to prepare your home will go a long way to ensure your senior loved ones are safe during their visit.