[Home Safety] 13 DIY Tricks To Make Your Home Safer For The Elderly
In 1960, the life expectancy of Malaysians is 60 years. Today, they can expect to live up to 75 years. Our parents are living longer, and it is our responsibility to ensure they are always protected and safe at home. Most home injury risks can be minimized or avoided by making a couple of affordable yet creative improvements in accident-prone areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms.
Malaysian statistics on home injuries involving the elderly, defined as ≥60 years old.
6% of our old folks are involved in some kind of home injury:
- Types of injury:
- Falls (73%)
- Cuts (15%)
- Struck by objects (5%)
- Others (7%)
- The most common injury locations:
- Kitchen (29%)
- Garden (23%)
- Washroom (16%)
- Living room (9%)
- Bedroom (8%)
- Stairs (7.5%)
- Others (7.5%)
- The only emergency number everyone needs to remember is Write it down, together with numbers of other family members, and stick the list where the elderly is likely to see it frequently.
- How to prevent falls
- Keep your home, especially the staircase, brightly lit.
- Constantly clear away any clutter (toys, books, extension cords, cables) on the floor, especially from the bed to the bathroom, to prevent tripping.
- Install bedside safety rails to prevent the elderly from accidentally rolling out of their bed.
- Tape all mats down to the floor to prevent them from moving when one walks on them. Or use slip-resistant ones.
- Buy slippers with a rubber bottom. If socks are needed, get those with a rubber bottom.
- Place frequently-used items in easy-to-reach places.
- Avoid bathroom hazards
- Install rubber mats in the bathroom to prevent slipping.
- Install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet to make sitting down and standing up easier.
- If your old man’s hands are shaky, replace his manual razor with an electric one.
- Protect against fire
- Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home.
- Prevent poisoning
- Label medications in large print for easy reading.
- Protect from abuse
- Install window grills and keep the doors locked at all times to prevent criminals from taking advantage of your old folks.
Risk factors of home injury among elderly people in Malaysia, Asian Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics 01/2013