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Senior Proofing: A Gift of Love

Bill Case - January 17, 2018 10:41 AM

As first time parents, the first thing we did before we brought our new baby home was to baby proof our house.  We knew there were “home” high risk factors to injury or possibly even death if we didn’t act responsibly.  The facts are clear about the dangers to infants in the home and preventable steps you can take to baby proof. 

Today, there are plenty of websites, along with family and friends to gather as much information as needed to insure your new baby’s safety.

To start, make sure the crib, changing table and all areas where the baby will be, is properly padded.  Remove all small objects on the floor and the surrounding areas to ensure there is nothing that your baby will put into his mouth.  Another step is to secure a baby proof fence in the door and use electrical outlet plugs to keep those curious holes in the wall covered.  These are a few of the baby proof changes to prevent injury— I’m sure as a parent you get the point.

Now as our babies grow, develop, mature and finally have a family of their own, who will take care of their aging parents and grandparents?  They will remember that even though they had the safest home, there still were those bruises, cuts and even broken bones.  Unfortunately, these are the fallouts of an active child, but what about the fallouts of an aging adult.  Who will protect and prevent injuries for them?

Who will Senior Proof their home for them?  The answer is you.

Falling is the number one cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65 years of age.  Every 15 seconds a senior is seen in the emergency room for a fall-related injury.  Those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. Each week, there are more than 30,000 adults over the age of 65 that are seriously injured by falling.  Each week, nearly 250 older adults will die as a result.  Falling is not an inevitable result of aging.  Adult falls are preventable.

Today’s Senior or (S-Generation) needs to have their home Senior Proofed.  There are resources available to senior proof the home and I’ve collected them into a handy buyers guide on Amazon. In addition, here are a couple of great checklists and question guides:

Good Questions to Ask from the National Center for Injury Prevention

Most home falls occur in the bathroom.  A few necessary senior proof home tips are installing a hand grab bar in the bathroom, specifically in the shower.  Also, a rubber mat in the shower is necessary to prevent slipping.  Furthermore, an elevated toilet with a wall grab bar is useful when getting up from the toilet safely.

Clean stove tops in the kitchen to prevent fires. Night lights are necessary in the halls, bedroom and bathrooms.  The throw rugs and cords on the floor should be removed to prevent tripping.  Medical alert necklaces are imperative, especially for seniors living alone.  The home should not be considered a war zone with mine fields of booby traps, just waiting to take our loved ones down.  Just think, do you know a senior, a parent or grandparent and wander how safe is their home.  Prevention is the key, education and action is the answer.

Recently, I was talking to someone about their 80 year old dad, who is living alone and doing just fine.  He is active, driving and gets out socially to be with his friends.  He has some arthritis and uses a cane to walk but has not had any falling episodes.  When I asked, what kind of prevention measures (senior proofing) have been taken in the home, specifically the bathroom to prevent falls for your dad—-I was told none, because he hasn’t needed any.   I paused and said, what are you waiting for?  At that instant, a light went off and I was told, WOW !!!, what do I need to do to keep Dad from falling?

If you know a older adult, who is independent and active, then what better gift can you give than a gift of love and help with a home senior proofing assessment.

Bill Case is the #1 Bestselling Author of Stand Tall, Don’t Fall.  NASA astronauts, NFL, NBA and MLB Athletes, Professional Ballet Dancers, and more than 85,000 other patients over the course of his 34 year career have benefitted from his expertise in physical therapy.

Your Answers and Comments

Regina Ford on Feb 19, 2018 01:04 PM
You ask, "Who will senior-proof their home?" The answer should be a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). The things mentioned in this article barely scratch the surface of what a real assessment by a professional in accessibility would show. Non-professionals are not trained or aware of many things that can determine whether or not a person is likely to fall. Please direct people to the National Home Builders Association website and their directory for CAPS companies in their area.

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