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Senior Care Senior Safety

Bathroom and Stairway Safety Makeover

One of our specialties and one of the jobs we called in to do all the time it to modify the bathroom area and stairways to make it safer and more comfortable for someone with mobility issues. When doing this, it doesn’t mean that you need to make it look institutional! Instead, with a little thought and following Aging-in-Place principles, you can make these areas attractive and safe. Here’s a recent consultation we did in Toronto.

Double railings are safer and with returns added at the ends and a strong, contrasting colour, you have gone a long way to lessen the chance of a fall.

Double railings. This condo already had one railing and we installed a second which is always recommended. Much more support. Notice the “returns” at the top of the railing (where the railing returns to the wall), which we had installed as well because the original railing didn’t have them. Returns make it a lot safer as clothing does not catch and the person knows when it is finishing. Also important is to paint the railing a contrasting colour. In this case, all the walls are white and by having a dark brown railing, people can see and grab it easier.

Well placed grab bars and no-slip traction strips on the shower floor increase safety while not detracting from the look.

Bathroom grab bars and no slip strips. The grab bars are a no-brainer for all shower or bath areas and in this case they are the standard nickel. However, very possible to get different coverings and looks. On the floor, after cleaning the shower area, we have put down no-slip strips in a nice pattern to give more grip. A chair allows the person to sit down and relax without worrying about slipping and an extended shower head nozzle allows them the comfort of reaching all areas of the body.

Bidets provide cleanliness with comfort and dignity.

Bidet. We’ve been installing a lot of bidets recently and they’re a great idea! This is one that heats the water as you require it, but there are ones that have pre-heated water and even just plain cold water. All work great, often have dryers in them, can wash front and back and ensure cleanliness with dignity.

There you have it. Four or five easy modifications to a house that will lessen the chances of a serious fall, all while looking good and ensuring comfort. Easily done!

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Senior Safety

Make Your Bathroom Safe & Attractive For Seniors

Bathroom safety is extremely important as that is where a lot of accidents happen. Water everywhere, people needing to step in and out of tight spaces, etc. can lead to slips and falls which then lead to other, long-term problems. However, it doesn’t have to be this way as there are lots of ways to make your bathroom safer without making it look like a hospital facility. In short, safe and attractive! Here are some ideas.

Install some night lights or even this light up toilet seat. It guides the way without eliminating night vision!

Night lights. Simple, attractive and easy to install. Every bathroom should have one to allow people to see clearly once in there, but also to find their way from the bedroom. I’m a big fan of automatic lights everywhere (e.g. hallway strip lighting) and I even like the idea of light up toilet seats if that helps people feel more comfortable and safe.

Promenaid black railing with antique brass fittings. Safe and attractive!

Grab Bars. Another simple but very effective device that we install a lot of. They can be a little trickier for the home owner to do themselves as they should be firmly attached and close to the bath or shower. Want to avoid the hospital look? We like to install the Promenaid line because they can be beautiful as well as useful.

Lots of different patterns and designs for non-slip bath strips.

Non-slip bath strips. Not only do these make your tub or shower safer, they look great! Lots of beautiful patterns and designs out there and they are also simple to install. Every tub or shower should have them.

There you are. A few suggestions that will make your bathroom a lot safer while making sure it stays attractive. All easily done!

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Senior Care Senior Safety

How To Correctly Get Up From A Fall

As people age, they tend to fall and as we’ve discussed many times, it’s important to both exercise to avoid falls while also fall or slip proofing your home. There can be many complications from falling as well as from lying there, unable to get up (e.g. dehydration, pressure sores). As well, once a person falls, there is a tendency to become afraid of falling again, which increases the chances of falling in the future. For example, by staying in your chair all day, which results in lack of exercise, which can lead to a fall next time the person moves.

There are a number of courses starting to appear, to teach older adults how to fall properly, if it does happen. These are excellent. it is also important to know how to get up from a fall, so that you don’t aggravate the problem even more.

Here’s a short video from Care Givers on how to react once you have fallen and how to safely get back up from a fall. Useful and timely given the season of winter here in Toronto!

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Senior Safety

Balancing Exercises For Seniors Using A Walker or Cane

All exercise is good but balancing exercises are very good for avoiding falls.

As someone who sees seniors in their homes every day, one of the things that I’m constantly worried about is their ability to walk safely. Even when they have a cane or a walker, I actually get a little more worried because people then think they don’t need to do exercise or balancing techniques. Falls are the number one issue with seniors and easily the number one issue I get called in to make changes to the house.

Here’s a short video which explains five simple techniques for seniors (and everyone really!) to practice so that they can improve their balance and lessen the chance of falling. The video is with Bob and Brad, who I have posted about before. Two funny guys and they provide lots of good ideas!

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Senior Safety

Non Slip Shower & Bath Strips

These are one of the simplest yet most effective shower or bath safety products out there. Many different providers and looks and what is best is that they can be both safe and attractive! Easily done at home by yourself or call in a handyman to prep your shower/bath area and put them down.

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Senior Care Senior Safety

Winter Fall Prevention For Seniors

Fall prevention is a big part of what we do and I often write about it and provide various resources for more reading. I think I’ll do it again this time! Winter is in full swing right now and some winter specific ideas for fall prevention is always a good idea. So, for you caregivers out there or for seniors who want to get through the season healthy, have a read!

Keep the walkways, stairs and sidewalks free of ice. This may sound like common sense – because it is! However, there’s two reasons for it. Firstly, ice and snow are obvious contributors to slips and falls and therefore some solid shoveling and sand/ice salt over everything makes sense. Secondly and perhaps just as important, is the fact that many seniors tend to stay inside too much in the winter, fearing slips and falls. This can lead to muscle and equilibrium loss, which are the two other factors which can lead to slips and falls. Therefore, in the winter, if you can’t do it yourself, hire someone or ask a neighbour to clear things up for you so that you can get out safely and continue to exercise all year round.

Wear proper footwear. Old boots tend to have old rubber bottoms, which harden over time and become a lot slippier than when they were new. Replace those boots with something new with flexible rubber bottoms. Check the boots out online or at the store to see what their slip rating is. How often should you change your boots? I would think at least every two years. You can get a good pair for $100 or less and that is a lot cheaper than several weeks in the hospital!

Get some ice traction cleats for your boots and leave them on. I first saw these type of cleats in Europe but they are becoming more common here in Canada. I love them. The hardest part of them is putting them on so I recommend having a pair of boots that they stay on permanently. Anytime it looks a little snowy or icy out there, that’s the pair of boots you use. Here’s a link to a good article on them and some suggestions on buying them.

Keep up that exercise and balancing regime. Falls are usually caused by loss of muscle and/or balance. Neither is necessarily inevitable and older adults can reduce their chances of a fall dramatically, by doing more leg and balance exercises. So, during the winter, if you are stuck in the house, now’s the time to do some exercise and get off that chair!