Most seniors would prefer to age in place as long as possible. To ensure that this is a viable option for your aging parent, it’s important to consider potential dangers around the house. While a home may seem inherently safe, here are often common hazards within the home that seem harmless to young adults but can actually cause a senior to fall and suffer from severe injuries. By identifying and addressing these hazards, you can help your parent avoid falls and remain healthy, happy, and at home. In this post, we want to outline potential hazards in a senior’s bedroom and provide some fall safety tips.
Evaluate Her Risk of Falling
One of the first things you can do to help keep your aging mom safe in her own bedroom is to determine her risk of falling. Does she take medications that make her sleepy or drowsy? Does she have trouble getting in and out of bed? By evaluating your parent’s overall health and determining their level of risk, you can understand the extent of the change you may need to make around the home — your mom may need major modifications to her room or just minor adjustments. Once you’ve determined your mom’s level of risk, you can evaluate the following steps and precautions to see if they would be a good solution.
Look at Lighting
Vision problems are common in seniors and are a major source of falls. As you age, it can become harder to see small items on the ground or make out contrast between different floor levels. To help your parent, you should turn the lights on in their room and determine if there are any areas covered in shadows that could be a danger spot for falls. If there are heavy shadows, we recommend installing additional lighting or swapping out light bulbs for brighter ones.
You should also consider installing night lights. Seniors often get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and it can be hard to find the light switch and the motivation to turn the lights all the way on. Small night lights can help seniors see better in the dark so they can get to the bathroom safely.
Help Tidy Up
Loose items on the floor can become a tripping hazard for seniors. For example, clothes left on the floor instead of in a laundry basket or loose charging cables. Help your parent clean up their room and establish and organizational system that they can maintain — otherwise, the room is likely to get cluttered and dirty again. Make sure that items your mom uses frequently are within reach, so she doesn’t have to any heavy lifting to find what she needs in the closet.
Overall, try to make sure that there is plenty of empty space in the room to allow for comfortable movement. This step is especially important if your mom uses mobility aids, like a cane or walker.
While tidying up, you should also look at curtains, rugs, spare pillows, or bedspreads that could become tripping hazards. Your mom could get tangled in a curtain that is too long or trip over a decorative pillow in her walking path. You may need to replace these items with ones that are safer for your parent.
Check for Sturdy Furniture
As seniors age, they often find themselves leaning on furniture to help them keep their balance and provide stability as they move around. Check the furniture in your mom’s bedroom — bed frame, nightstand, dresser, etc. — to make sure each piece is sturdy and won’t fall or tip over if your mom puts her weight on it. Furniture that isn’t stable should be replaced with sturdier options. You should also make sure that the furniture is the right height. You don’t want the bed to be too high or too low, for example, because it could cause your parent to fall as they get into bed.
Consider Bed Rails
If your mom has trouble getting out of bed or is worried about falling out of the bed in her sleep, you might want to install bed rails. These attachments can be added to the bed to provide additional stability and safety to aging loved ones. It can also give you the peace of mind knowing that your mom will be safer.
Look at the Color Scheme
You might not think that the colors in a room can contribute to safety, but they can! Contrast in a room can help improve visibility and reduce falls. For example, painting the walls a light color and installing dark flooring can help seniors easily distinguish one surface from another. Pair that with furniture painted in another color, and seniors can differentiate objects in the room more efficiently to help them avoid falls.
Put a Chair in the Room
While your mom may seem like she has plenty of energy now, age causes seniors to lose physical strength and stamina. Daily activities, like getting dressed, can become a marathon. To help your mom avoid getting lightheaded while performing such activities, place a chair in the room. She can sit on it while putting her shoes on, getting dressed, folding laundry, or other tasks. She can also lean on it for support as need. This is a great measure to help prevent falls.
Hire a Caregiver
To help keep your mom safe in her bedroom, you might also consider an in-home caregiver — especially if she is at a high risk of falling. A caregiver can assist your parent with tasks of daily living, like tidying up or assisting with mobility. Having someone in the home can also provide needed companionship and peace of mind knowing that your mom isn’t alone.
At Caring Senior Service, our caregivers are trained in fall prevention and care, so we know just what to look for and how to help. If you are worried about your aging mom, reach out to our team today. We are happy to discuss care accommodations with you.