Q: My father will be moving into my home. He has mobility problems, and I want to make the house as free from potential falls as possible. Do you have any suggestions? A: Making your home safe for your father will also make it safer for the rest of your family, as anyone can tumble if areas are dark and cluttered. Here are some suggestions. Adding grab bars in the shower, tub and toilet areas will make bathrooms safer. Note that grab bars must be attached directly into the studs. If you don’t know how to do the installation, have it done by a professional. Incorrectly installed grab bars are more dangerous than none at all. Any bath mats in the tub or shower should have suction cups to hold them securely to the bottom. Better still, replace mats with nonslip adhesive strips attached directly to the foot surface areas. Also consider a sitting bench or stool in the shower and an elevated toilet seat. Make sure bedrooms have a lamp or light switch that can be easily reached from the bed. Bedrooms as well as hallways and bathrooms should have night lights. Stairs can be problematic. Have light switches at both ends of the staircase. Handrails should be installed on both sides of the stairs and go all the way to the top and bottom steps. Many falls occur on the last step or two. Added lighting aids include equipping every room with a flashlight. Leaving lights on when you leave the house at night ensures that people do not have to enter a dark house and search for lights. Also, leave a light or two burning during the night. Carpets and rugs have a real potential for danger. Tack rugs and glue vinyl flooring so they lie flat. If rugs or runners tend to slip and slide, remove them or use nonslip backing to hold them in place. Make sure any carpet on stairs is firmly attached to the tread. Clutter should be eliminated or reduced. Move telephone and electrical cords out of any pathways. Don’t forget the outside of your house. Outdoor steps are often narrower than indoor stairs, or the risers are higher or lower. So you see all the steps, paint the edge of each step in a contrasting color. Consider mixing the paint for the steps with a light mixture of sand to provide better traction. Lighting of walkways and outdoor stairs also is important. Make sure all steps have a sturdy handrail that goes the full length of the stairway. Happenings July 10: Healthier Living, a six-week class. 9-11:30 a.m.; SCAN Senior Resource Center, 6633 Telephone Road, Suite 100 in Ventura. For information and registration, call 658-0365. July 10: “Where Does Your Money Really Go?” seminar. 1:30-3 p.m.; Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village. For information, call 495-6250. July 19: “Goebel Game Night: How Well Do You Know Your Partner?” 6 p.m.; Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. For information and reservations, call 381-2744. The game is free. Medicare seminars July 10: “Medicare Overview and Extra Help Programs.” 9:30-11 a.m.; Wilson Senior Center, 350 N. C St. in Oxnard. For information, call 477-7310. July 11: “Covered California, Medicare Fraud and Extra Help Programs.” 9-10:30 a.m.; Ojai Little House, 621 Santa Ana Road in Ojai. For information call 646-5122. July 11: “Covered California, Medicare Fraud and Extra Help Programs.” 10 a.m. to noon; Ventura County Area Aging on Aging Offices, 646 County Square Drive in Ventura. For information call 477-7310. Betty Berry is a senior advocate for senior concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362, or call 495-6250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include your telephone number More …
Making home safer for a senior helps entire family
About the Author: Betty Berry
Betty Berry brings a deep understanding of senior issues to her position as Senior Advocate for Senior Concerns. She has advocated for seniors since 1993. Through the Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program, known as HICAP, she is registered with the State of California as an Insurance Counselor, a Long-Term Care Insurance Counselor and a Community Educator. She has served on the Area Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council as a member and Chair, has been a member of the Financial Abuse Strategic Team (FAST) and currently serves on the Conejo Senior Volunteer Program (CSVP) Advisory Board and authors the Senior Advocate column that appears in the Ventura County Star. Betty completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University and earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Ventura College of Law.
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