Future-proofing your home may not be something you have considered. It is becoming increasingly vital to do so for a variety of reasons. We have an ageing population. More of us will be combining parenting and work lives with caring for elderly relatives. Even if you don’t find yourself in this position, you are getting older every day too and as most accidents happen in the home, planning ahead is a very good idea.
I had a fall just before Christmas. I have to admit I am now middle-aged and I remember how my parents suddenly started to have falls as they entered their fifties and sixties. It got worse as they got older. There was one awful incident after they had moved house to be nearer us and their new grandchild. Dad was confused and heading in the direction he would have done in the old house for the bathroom, he found himself tumbling down the stairs. It was a shock for all of us as he injured his foot quite badly and was very shaken. He was very embarrassed which apparently is not uncommon when older people have falls. We ensured there was a light that would come on if anyone went on the landing or stairs after that. It was a great reassurance to us. It was even better when my disabled brother moved in with my parents as then they were open to having bathroom and mobility aids in the home.
Quality of life
Sadly through fear of falling, many older people give up activities they love. In our case, my parents stopped looking after my son for me as he grew older and was just always running with them struggling to keep up with him. They moved again worried about the steps up to their beloved garden. The issue with falling which I understand now after two bad falls in recent years is partly the injuries sustained but also the constant worry and fear that you will fall again.
The stigma around falling
Sadly our society tends to look down on older people. As we start falling over, we know we are getting older and feel embarrassed. Many of us don’t want to trouble our younger friends and relatives so we keep quiet about our worries. As we are all going to get older, we need to fight this stigma around falling and talk openly and honestly about it. When we do this, we increase the chances of putting measures in place that will prevent falls happening at all or as often in the home.
Future-proofing your home
It is time to do that thing that most of us are always promising ourselves to get round to. Declutter! Despite what you might think, you can keep memories without keeping all the stuff associated with them. Pass them on to charity ideally so that a good cause can benefit from you making your environment safer. Put pet bowls in a safer place, consider whether you need quite so much furniture and tidy up those electrical cables once and for all.
Be aware eyesight gets worse with age so good lighting is vital for your own safety.
Ensure spillages are wiped up immediately especially on kitchen and bathroom floors which can be so hazardous if they are wet. Don’t have things in difficult to reach places. A fall in the bathroom will be a bad one so get over any embarrassment and have rails to help you negotiate the bath and have non-slip mats in the place you get washed. Falls down the stairs are scary so have handrails at both sides to help you retain your balance if you do take a tumble.