Home Safety for People With Limited Mobility
The changes that occur with aging can lead to problems with a person’s ability to move around, or mobility. Mobility problems may be unsteadiness while walking, difficulty getting in and out of a chair, or falls. Muscle weakness, joint problems, pain, disease, and neurological (brain and nervous system) difficulties-common conditions in older people-can all contribute to mobility problems. Sometimes several mild problems occur at one time and combine to seriously affect mobility.
The number one mobility problem that older people experience is falls. Falls result in broken bones, bruises, and fear of falling. Older bones break more easily than younger bones and they heal less quickly and not as completely. If a hip is fractured, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs might be needed permanently. Falls are a major cause of injury and death, so prevention is important.
Limited mobility can be of permanent nature or temporary depending upon the nature of the medical conditions. You can be a senior who is affected by old age or arthritis problems, you can be a teenager who is recovering from a sports injury – all these conditions lead to limited mobility and you will be having trouble moving around your own house.
A lot of things can be done to make the home safer and life smoother for people, especially seniors, with limited mobility. The first step to make the home safe for people with limited mobility is to rearrange the furniture according to their convenience and to arrange handrails in strategic locations. But if there is long term limited mobility issue then, you should take certain substantial measures.
Let’s start from the entrance itself and it should be made safe for physically disabled people. If there are steps on the entrance, handrails should be fixed on both sides of it. A ramp for walkers and wheelchairs can be used which will enable smooth entrance to the house.
Make the kitchen safe and hazard free with these useful tips. Things should not be left hanging in the kitchen. Frequently used plates and other utensils should be placed in easily accessible shelves. Try not to spread everything around the kitchen to prevent falls. Strong chairs can be put in strategic locations in the kitchen, so that you can do everything by being seated. It is the ideal way to work in the kitchen with limited mobility. Try not to bring your limited mobility in between your daily tasks.
A lot of things have to be done in the living room to make it comfortable and convenient for people with limited mobility. Make the living room extra spacious with minimum furniture which makes it easy for people moving in wheelchairs.
The height of chairs and sofas should be increased so that people in the wheel chair can move into them easily. Carpets and rugs should be expelled to make your house wheel chair friendly and to prevent falls. Make your house clutter-free making the smooth moving of the disabled.
If you are suffering from impaired mobility, then moving up and down the stairs can be dangerous and physically exhausting. If your bedroom is in upstairs, you should transform it to the downstairs so that it is easily accessible. Keep everything handy by the bedside itself like, medicines, water and other essential things. If you wish to get the help of a caregiver in the night, then place a bell on the nightstand.
Here are ways to be safer: Make sure stairway handrails are installed the correct way. Most handrails should be able to support 250 pounds. They should be screwed into studs or blocking, not sheet rock. Handrails should be placed about 1½ inches from the walls on both sides of the staircase so people can firmly grasp them.Handrails should extend beyond the top and bottom so people have support when they get on and off the last step. Sometimes people add a handrail in the center when a staircase is very wide.
- Grab bars
- Transfer seats
- Nonslip tub mats
- Bench that extends outside the bathtub
- Swivel-style shower seat
- Roll-in shower.
All the above tips will be useful to safeguard the health of people having limited mobility. It will make your house a safe haven for physically challenged people, making life a bit more comfortable.
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