National Safety Month: Educate Yourself on Safety When Aging at Home

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National Safety Month: Educate Yourself on Safety When Aging at Home

This month we highlight the importance of caution in the home in honor of National Safety Month. With more and more adults deciding to age in place, there is no better time than now to discuss how occupational therapy can not only assist but improve life at home for aging adults. One of the biggest concerns with aging in place among OT is how vision can impact not only safety but quality of life. Here are a few quick tips from OT professionals on what you can do to make aging in place a great experience:


Clear the Clutter

Trips and falls resulting in injury happen every 15 seconds. This is not only a staggering statistic but a preventable one as well. One of the easiest things you can do is to remove clutter. Whether this is bulky furniture, loose cords, or rumpled carpet, anything can be a tripping hazard if you have low vision. Experts recommend going through your home room by room and accessing what is necessary and what isn’t. Also look out for any potential risks like the ones we’ve discussed. Just by doing this you drastically lower your chances of having a slip and fall injury.


Bathroom Safety

Occupational Therapists also recommend taking a look at your bathroom for hazards. Low vision plus slippery surfaces do not equal an ideal environment. First, make sure that there is accurate lighting. Illumination will help point out any problem areas like an open cabinet or loose rug on the ground. Next, installing grab bars is a great way to help guide someone with low vision through the bathroom to utilize the facilities. These can be installed along the wall, next to the toilet, as well as in the shower for ease of access. One last thing to improve the safety of the bathroom is to install a toilet seat lift. This will help the strain of trying to get up after sitting down.


Beyond the Home

Although safety around the home is vital to aging in place, we all know that life occurs outside the home as well. From doctor’s appointments to getting to the grocery store, there are going to be times when you will need to leave the house. According to OT professionals the best thing to do is be prepared. Whether that is having a ride in place ahead of time, like a family member or friend, or by simply keeping an ongoing list of grocery needs ready, you won’t have to scramble last minute for basic things.


There is no better time than National Safety Month to talk about aging in place with vision impairments. Although we have outlined a few critical aspects to ensuring your safety at home, it is always best to contact a professional. The next time you meet with your occupational therapist, be sure to ask them their opinion on what you can do to make living at home a safe and comfortable place.