Whole Home Blog

Older Americans Month: Keeping Loved Ones Safe

Posted on May 08, 2014 by kim

Older Americans Month_Whole HomeThough you might not know it, every May is Older Americans Month. Started in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, Older Americans Month is a time to recognize the contributions seniors make in our communities. This year’s theme is Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow, a message that fits with the Whole Home mission.

Because we are dedicated to providing the knowledge, services, products, and advocacy that help people live better, more productive lives at home, a month dedicated to encouraging seniors to focus on injury prevention makes us very happy.

When you think about keeping an older loved one safe, you may think about making modifications to their home, however keeping their home safe isn’t always enough. We encourage you to think about how you can make your own home safer for when older friends and family members visit, whatever their mobility.

So where to start? You of course want to make the inside of your home as comfortable and safe for your loved ones as possible, so the first thing you should do is de-clutter. Remove any shoes, cords, and children’s toys from hallways to make sure all pathways are clear. Think about also removing any unnecessary throw rugs or welcome mats. While they can add to the charm of your room, they can shift easily and result in slips and falls.  Another thing to consider would be rearranging furniture in your main rooms.  Consider adjusting if there are obvious pinch points in the room, or to widen paths, making the room more accessible to wheelchairs or walkers.  

In addition to the inside of your home, you’ll want to also consider how you can make the outside of your home safer and more welcoming. Simple things you can do include saving the spot closest to your door for their car so they don’t have to walk as far. If your loved ones are coming or going in the evening, make sure the path to the car is lit. If you can’t add lights be sure to follow with a flashlight so they know where the path is. You should also sweep your porch and whatever path they’ll take to make sure there is nothing that could cause them to slip or trip such as sticks or other debris.  Lastly, if steps are a challenge, consider renting a portable ramp.

These are just a few of the many things you can do to ensure your next visit from a senior or person with limited mobility goes smoothly and is stress free.    

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