Before reading through the list of potentially hazardous objects below, it is very important understand that these objects are not to be forbidden from being in a home of the elderly. In fact, many of the items are essential amenities and comforts for those elderly whom care is given to. Remedies and/or modifications are provided at the end of each section to ensure these items are safely used, rather that simply removed.
As the human body ages, it becomes more difficult during walking to raise the feet more than an inch or two off the ground. Consequently, the elderly commonly walk with the bottoms of their shoes or feet hardly off the ground, or perhaps even dragging. Doing so puts them at very high risk of being tripped by even the slightest raise or drop in floor height, namely a rug. Purchase strong double sided tape, and place strips under the edges and corners of any rugs in the home.
Regulating body heat properly is another bodily function that weakens over time, causing elderly individuals to frequently need fans or space heaters. Although the fan/heater itself is typically larger and therefore visible, the cord is often nearly invisible to older eyes, or forgotten it is there entirely. When plugging one in, try to keep the distance between the apparatus and the wall at such a minimum so there isn’t space or incentive to walk behind it where the cord will be. If this is hard to do because the appliance is needed in the center of the room, consider a wireless version.
More accidents happen in the bathroom than anywhere else. Surfaces are easy to get wet, there are lots of full-body motions done only in a bathroom (sitting on a toilet, stepping into a shower), and so on. Because of the fact that most showers and/or bathtubs have some kind of basin to hold water in, users have to step over the wall of the basin, which as aforementioned is difficult to do. If a shower mat were to slip in that situation, it would be hazardously dangerous. Make sure all mats in a bathroom are non-stick, or suction-cupped on the bottom, no exceptions.
Hot Water Faucets
Seemingly innocuous, hot water is a common contributor of harm in a home. This is particularly true for an older person, who may forget exactly how hot the water can get, or struggle to get the handle of the faucet in exactly the position they want if trying to get warm but not hot water. A universal fix would be to access the hot water heater, and incrementally turn the water temperature down to ensure the hottest water available isn’t at a scalding level. Another alternative is to clearly mark the ‘hot’ sides of faucets with bright red marks to catch the elderly person’s eye.
Modern furniture is commonly designed to have more distinct, sharp corners to give an aesthetically pleasing look. However, if the body weight of a person were to fall at certain angles onto or against the furniture, edges that beforehand would not be able to cut someone would easily pierce skin. This is simply unacceptable in a home of the elderly, and can be remedied, either through the replacement of the sharp-edged furniture, or having a handyman or carpenter come in to sand or cover the distinct edges to round them to acceptable levels.