6 Easy Ways to Make Your Elderly Loved Ones Home Safer

As our loved one’s age, it is easy to worry more often about their safety. Some of which is for good reason; according to the CDC, more than one out of four older people fall each year, with 3 million older adults being treated in the ER for fall injuries each year. Often these falls can occur in the older adult’s own home. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I educate each patient and their families about ways to improve safety in their home at our very first visit together. Here are six easy ways to decrease your loved one’s risk of falls in their home.

  1. Check for adequate lighting in all living areas. Replace bulbs for brighter light if needed. Make sure they have a night light in bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms as needed.
  2. Keep all pathways clear. Check that furniture provides enough room for them to walk safely, and make sure to double check that any equipment used such as walkers or wheelchairs fit as well. A common area of concern for this is making sure equipment can safely fit in the bedroom all the way up to where they need to sit on the bed. Watch out for throw rugs, if they are necessary make sure they are secured tightly to the floor and will not slip. Eliminate or secure any cords that may be in a walking area.
  3. Make sure they have stair railings where needed. Don’t forget to check for any steps leading into or out of the home or garage. Double check existing railings to make sure they are secured properly.
  4. Purchase a shower chair. Proper set up of the bathroom plays a huge role in fall safety. An easy modification to make is to purchase a shower chair or bench for your loved one to use while bathing.
  5. Install bed rails. There are a variety of options available at a range of prices. These rails can make getting in and out of bed easier, while also ensuring that they won’t roll or slide off the edge of the bed.
  6. Make sure closets are organized, clean, and items inside are easy to reach. This includes ensuring adequate pathways into and out of the closet as well. An elderly individual’s balance will be challenged with reaching outside of their base of support, so it is important to make sure everything needed is within close reach. It may also be helpful to place a chair near the closet or wherever they like to get dressed, so that they can sit while getting ready.


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