June is National Safety Month. It is a good time to start thinking about how we can maximize safety in our homes, especially as we age. Research has shown that people often function at their best in their own environment. There are some simple tips to consider when thinking about ways to increase safety in your home.
Remove throw rugs: I know you love them but get rid of the throw rugs. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce risk for falls in the home.
Decrease the clutter: Keeping pathways and living areas clear of clutter is another easy way to increase safety in your home and reduce your risk for falls.
Consider lighting: Have you every stubbed your toe on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Ouch! Having adequate lighting, especially at night, is another fall prevention strategy that can keep you safe from more than just a stubbed toe.
Ask for help: Really, you can do it! Think of a neighbor or friend who may be willing to take out your trash, mow your lawn, shovel your driveway. Maybe there is something you can do for that person in return.
What can be modified: One common area of concern as we age is the bathroom. Is the toilet high enough? Can you step over the tub? If the answer is no, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to demolish the bathroom and start from scratch. Items like grab bars, raised toilet seats, tub benches may be the fix you need without breaking the bank.
Keep frequently used items within reach: A step stool can be a handy item to keep in your home but it also can be a danger, especially if your balance is not what it used to be. Ask a family member or friend to look at your kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, etc and relocate frequently used items to shoulder height or below for easy access.
Not sure where to start? Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our occupational therapist. Occupational therapists (OT) have a unique ability to assess a person and their environment to develop recommendations to maximize safety and independence in the home. Occupational therapists also have the skills to identify the appropriate modifications or equipment to meet the person’s needs. Other topics an OT can address within the home include medication management, kitchen safety, driving ability.
Live Well! Live Safe!
Molly Cervenka, OTR/L
Live Your Life™
Bringing Physical Therapy & Wellness to You!
Molly Cervenka, OTR/L has been practicing occupational therapy since graduating with a Masters in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine’s University in 2012. Her experience includes working with clients in transitional care, home health, and skilled nursing settings. She has a passion for helping people live safely and as independent as possible in their homes. She has experience in home modification and home safety evaluations with knowledge regarding durable medical equipment, adaptive equipment and techniques to help people achieve their goals. As a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, she continues her drive to always learn and grow in her practice. When she is not working, you can find Molly spending time with her husband Mike and her two sweet boys Will and Henry.
Tips for Living Life To Its Fullest. https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/consumers/Adults/AginginPlace/Aging-At-Home-Older-Adult-Tip-Sheet-LARGE-PRINT.pdf. Accessed 29 May 2019