Make Your Home "Elderproof"

Source: 
Associated Press
Published: 
09/17/2007

 

Associated Press

For an elderly person, the home can be a dangerous place, with accidents waiting to happen. But smart ways of forestalling accidents need not wait. They can be quick, easy and inexpensive.

Some advice from Marion Somers, former director of the professional geriatric-care management program at Hunter College's Brookdale Center on Aging, on how to quickly and easily "elderproof" the home:

To prevent a serious cut or bruise: Place stickers at eye level on glass and screen doors to avoid collisions.

To prevent a lockout: Place rubber key guides on the front-door key to help identify which key to use. You can also use doorknobs without locks on indoor rooms to prevent an accidental lock-in.

To prevent a fall: Cut holes in the tops of tennis balls and install them over the feet of walkers. They prevent the bottoms from sticking to, or catching on, raised areas of the floor.

Another easy trick to prevent tripping: Get rid of throw rugs.

To prevent a temperature emergency: Use a thermostat lock box, $25 at a hardware store. Set the home thermostat to a comfortable temperature, not too high or too low, then cover it to prevent accidental adjustments. This is especially important at extremes of summer heat and winter cold.

A question for eldercare expert and author Somers: What is one simple thing most people might not think of for the safety of the elderly?

The most overlooked safety issue in the home may be lack of proper lighting, Somers answered by e-mail. "An older person's vision is often not what it used to be. Simply adding more light in every room can prevent all kinds of slips, falls, bumps and bruises.

"Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion's 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One," by Marion Somers, is available in paperback for $16.95.

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