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!

Senior Care

Embracing Aging 2020

Embracing Aging 2020 is an upcoming free series of presentations to help people going through this process to better equip themselves for the inevitable changes. All of the presentations are at Eglinton St. George’s United Church. There are a number of topics that are to be discussed including:

Feb. 2: Aging-in-Place: Growing Older, Staying at Home. This is all about staying safe and independent in your home or condo as well as how to make it free of barriers and adaptable to your changing needs. Carried out by Margot McWhirter, an Occupational Therapist and specialist in the field of aging-in-place.

Mar. 29: Scam Alert! Presented by Patrick McKeen of the Better Business Bureau. This is all about how consumers can protect themselves from the most significant scams out there.

Apr. 19: Coming of Age. Presentation by Dr. Samir Sinha on Ontario’s and Toronto’s Senior Strategy, how it was carried out and other progress to date.

Design Ideas

Smart Plugs and Thermostats for Safety and Comfort

Smart Plug For A Receptacle

Homes contain many potential fire hazards, like a stove that’s left on or space heaters overheating next to some bedding. Installing a few smart plugs or smart outlets to use with these devices can give you peace of mind, even if you live far away. You’ll be able to remotely control and monitor the power to those plugs or outlets via your smartphone and check in anytime to see if there are any potential dangers. As well, you can schedule when these devices turn on to ensure that areas are well lit when required, to avoid slips and falls in the home.

Google Nest Smart Thermostat

Many modern thermostats now include WiFi-enabled controls and intelligent scheduling. As a caregiver, you could remotely access the thermostat to set the temperature on a schedule, turn up the heat ahead of a major storm, or turn on the air conditioner during a heat wave. If your older adult has limited mobility, a smart thermostat can allow them to easily control the temperature from their smartphone or tablet instead of having to get up.

Senior Care

Great Balancing Exercises to Avoid Falls

As we age, we lose our balance, which can lead to falls and all the nasty things that falls can do. However, it is possible to lessen the chances of falling and one of them is through regular balancing exercises.

This video, by two physiotherapists (Bob and Brad) is both funny and quite useful. Do the exercises and avoid falls. Seems simple to me! They even have a good YouTube website which is worth looking at for more exercises.

Senior Care

The many health benefits of living an active lifestyle

Yoga is a great way to improve senior
flexibility and balance.

We all know that exercise is good for you but did you know all the various forms that are good for seniors? The positive effects each one can have? The following is an excellent article from McMaster Optimal Aging Portal that outlines five major categories (walking, yoga, HIIT training, strength training, aquatic exercise) and various options for each. Well worth reading and we’ll let the experts speak for themselves!

Senior Care

Fall Prevention Tips

Falls are the number one issue with most older adults. Not because of the fall itself, but from all the various complications that result from falls. A big part of our work at HSS Toronto is involved with preventing falls through a number of interventions. Here’s a quick list of possible things to consider if you want to prevent yourself from falling; or, if you want to mitigate the chances of your loved ones from falling.

Review medications and your overall fall risk with your family doctor. Lots of medications can cause dizziness or balance issues. Eye examinations on a regular basis can also be useful so that your eye doctor can advise on needed prescription changes. By just being aware of these causes or modifying behaviour around their use can lessen the chances of a fall.

Exercise for seniors is even more important than for younger folks as it reduces the risk of falls.

Clean up and remove clutter in the house. Sometimes this is as simple as getting rid of piles of stuff near doors or entrances; or moving furniture and tables around so that they are no longer in the way. Tacking down (or removing completely) loose carpets and looking for changes in floor heights from room to room is also very useful.

Exercise. I’m a big proponent of exercise for a number of reasons. Strengthening legs allows for more walking and reduced risk of falling. Balancing exercises ensure better balance overall. Exercise can also reduce fatigue during the day, making falling less of a risk.

Design Ideas

Making Your Home “Visitable”

While you may not require any changes or modifications to your home for yourself, many people have friends and relatives who require some level of modification to be able to visit. This is called “visitability” and it is becoming more and more popular for individuals as well as for planning organizations in various levels of government.

So, what makes a home “visitable”? Of course, if you have a specific person or group of people in mind, the answer to this question can also be specific. However, there are a number of common elements to home visitability.

At least one zero-step entrance. This can be either at the front or back of the house but the idea is to have a way for people to enter the house without having to use steps.

Interior doors having a minimum of clear-opening of 32 inches. This is to allow people in wheelchairs, walkers, etc. to be able to get through the door. If possible, making the doorway even wider and adding easy-open hardware (like lever door handles which don’t require someone to grip and turn) is also recommended.

36 inch wide hallways. These allow for easy movement through the ground floor and while doors might be slightly narrower, it is important to not have high thresholds at the doors. It’s recommended to be less than 1/2 inch but 1/4 is even better.

Ground floor bathrooms. Making a bathroom accessible on the main floor making visiting so much easier for people with accessibility issues.

Controls less than 48 inches above floor level. Whether they be light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, etc., having the house controls at the level allows everyone access.

Visitability is a basic component of universal design principles which focus on creating homes that everyone can live in and visit. Whether you are doing it for yourself, friends, family or just someone who drops by, giving thought to some of these changes can make a world of difference to someone visiting you. Want some more information? Why not visit VisitAble Housing Canada to learn a bit more!