There are a lot of things to think about when you’re getting ready for retirement. One thing that’s super important, yet easy to overlook, is making your home safe for ‘ageing in place’.
As you get older, it becomes increasingly important to take precautions to avoid potential trip hazards in your home. Falling is one of the most common causes of injury for seniors and can often lead to more serious health problems. What’s more, over 36 million falls[i] are reported among older adults each year and they have resulted in more than 32,000 deaths[ii].
Thankfully, with a little bit of preparation, falls are preventable and don’t have to be an inevitable part of ageing. To help you avoid trip hazards that can cause falls and injuries, we share some of the most common hazards, plus six tips on how to stay safe.
1) Install Grab Bars
Installing grab bars can truly be a lifesaver. Consider placing them in the bathroom and by the bed to provide stability when getting up or out of bed.
They provide security when you need it, which can help keep you safe and independent. Additionally, they’re relatively easy to install, so there’s no reason not to add them to your home if you’re concerned about falls.
2) Place Non-Slip Mats
While some falls are unavoidable, there are things you can do to reduce your risk, like placing non-slip mats in areas where you’re likely to have a slip and fall.
We recommend adding non-slip mats in front of your entrance doors, at the top of the stairs, and in your bathroom. These mats will provide extra traction and stability, which can help keep you safe when you’re walking around your house.
3) Hide Cords & Wires
Cords and wires from electronics are a common culprit of elderly falls, but there are ways to prevent these accidents. Keep cords and wires hidden behind furniture or taped down to the floor. By doing so you can create a safer environment for yourself and your loved ones. Not to mention, this will help keep your wires more organized and less likely to tangle into a jumbled fire hazard.
4) Keep It Light
Proper lighting is key – studies show that low lighting significantly impacts the stability of older adults. Make sure your home is well-lit, especially in the most-trafficked pathways and areas where you might be prone to slips and falls such as the bathroom, walkways, and stairs. We recommend investing in LED lighting — not only will it help you avoid tripping, but it can also save you money on utilities in the long run.
5) Store Everything Safely
It’s easy to accumulate a lot of stuff when you’ve been living in your home for a while. And, as we all know, it can be tough to get rid of things you’re attached to. But all that clutter, when left strewed about your house in an unorganized fashion, can create dangerous trip hazards.
It can be easy to trip over objects that are lying around, and if you’re not careful, you could end up getting seriously injured. Here are some tips to proactively prevent trip hazards:
- Safely store your shoes as soon as you take them off
- Don’t leave your clothes lying around
- Store clutter in boxes (and label them so you know what’s inside)
By utilizing safe storage solutions, you can keep your home clutter-free and avoid dangerous trip hazards. And the best part of decluttering is this: when you declutter your home, you declutter your mind. Studies have shown that clutter is tightly correlated to stress levels, so it’s worth finding ways to declutter your home.
6) Keep Items Within Reach
As you age, your mobility may decline, which makes you more susceptible to trip hazards. By keeping commonly used items within reach, you can minimize your chances of falling. We recommend:
- Placing cabinets on torso level
- Investing in a trolley to always have your most-used items nearby
- Keeping your clothes on an adjustable rail to ensure it’s always within reach
This way, you don’t have to reach up high or bend over. Plus, it’s simply convenient.
Keep Your Home Safe
Even the smallest changes can make a big difference in your retired life quality. While many hazards can be avoided with a bit of forethought and preparation, it’s also important to always be aware of your surroundings.
Even though these home modifications are essential, staying physically active and improving both your balance and coordination are even more vital. Take our few simple precautions, so that you can stay safe and independent in your own home for as long as possible.