Adaptation of the home for the elderly

To prevent the elderly from falling and a serious fracture, it may be necessary to make some adjustments to the house, eliminating dangers and making the rooms safer. For this it is recommended to remove carpets or put support bars in the bathroom, to facilitate the bath and the use of the toilet, for example.

It is important to adapt the home to the needs of the elderly because from 70 years of age, difficulty in walking may arise, due to joint pain, lack of muscle mass or loss of balance, in addition to having difficulty seeing or even being confused and , therefore, it is important to eliminate all dangers inside and outside the house to make the environment safer. 

The safest house for the elderly to live is one that has only 1 level, because it facilitates movement between all rooms and also entry and exit, reducing the risk of falls. 

General adjustments in the house to prevent falls

Some of the adaptations that must be made in the home of the elderly include: 

  • Have spacious and spacious rooms, with few closets or potted plants, for example;
  • Attach appliance wires to the wall;
  • Give preference to furniture without corner;
  • Place non-slip floors, especially in the kitchen and bathroom;
  • Have the rooms well lit, choosing to have several lamps and light curtains;
  • Keep the most used personal objects in easily accessible places, such as cabinets and low drawers;
  • Remove the carpet from the floor of all rooms in the house, leaving only one at the exit of the box;
  • Attach wooden clubs from the floor, which may be loose;
  • Do not wax floors or leave anything wet on the floor; 
  • Replace or repair unstable furniture;
  • Avoid very low chairs and also very high or very low beds;
  • Use easy-to-open handles, avoiding round ones. 

In the case of the elderly’s home with stairs, these must be low, and it is important to place handrails on both sides of the stairs, in addition to painting the steps with a strong color and placing a non-slip floor to prevent the elderly from falling. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to put an elevator up the stairs.

Bathroom fittings

The elderly’s bathroom should be large, without carpets and only a low cabinet with essential objects, such as towels and hygiene products, for example. 

You should choose a shower instead of a bathtub, where you can enter a wheelchair, place a very firm plastic seat, or install support bars so that the elderly can hold on to themselves during the bath. 

Room adaptations

The elderly person’s room must have a bed with a firm mattress and, in some cases, it may be necessary to choose a bed with bars to avoid night falls. The objects most used by the elderly, such as glasses, medication or the telephone, should also always be within reach, on the nightstand, for example. In addition, it is important that the room is well lit, and should have a night light on at night, if the room is very dark. 

Adaptations outside the house 

The exterior of the elderly person’s home can also jeopardize their safety and cause the elderly person to fall or be injured and, for this reason, it should be:

  • Repair broken sidewalks and garden steps;
  • Clean paths and remove debris from leaves, vases or trash;
  • Replace stairs with ramps with handrails;
  • Remove electrical wires in transit areas;
  • Do not wash the yard with detergent or washing powder as it makes the floor more slippery. 

It is important to emphasize that all these measures are a way to prevent the elderly from getting hurt, avoiding fractures or head injuries, and adaptations must be made according to the possibilities of the elderly and the family. 

To learn other strategies to prevent the elderly from falling, read:  How to prevent falls in the elderly .

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