Accessibility with Dignity
Life has a way of creeping up on us, doesn’t it? Every now and then we notice small changes in the way things are, and usually when we least expect it.
Day after day, we go about our typical routines, not really aware of the many tiny changes that are taking place all around us. Until one day, -BOOM. There it is. Our infant is now walking. Our toddler is suddenly speaking in full sentences. Our teenager is now asking for the car keys (and gas money). And mom and dad just seem a bit…older, frailer, a bit more tentative as they move around the house.
As our children age, they begin to grow into more responsibility and independence. As our parents get older, the opposite is true. Our parents will begin to need a little more help with the things that they’ve always been able to handle on their own. This can be a frightening time -for us and for our loved ones. But it doesn’t have to be traumatic. We can anticipate these changes and make the appropriate accessibility upgrades to the home and living environment. These simple upgrades and home improvements can help our parents and aging loved ones maintain their self-reliance, independence, and dignity.
Just as we ‘child-proof’ our homes when our children are young and growing. We can also accident-proof mom and dad’s house as they get older and need just a little safe-guarding and assistance to continue with their daily routines. These changes and home upgrades don’t have to be dramatic or expensive either. Many small accessibility improvements around the house are extremely affordable, discreet, and stylish too.
Accessibility Features in the Bathroom
- Additional grab-bars on walls and in the shower
- Installing a walk-in shower
- Adding a walk-in tub
- Lowering or raising the vanity and bathroom sinks
- Tilting and angling mirrors for better visibility
- Adding magnification mirrors
- Installing updated lighting for increased visibility
Accessibility Features in the Kitchen
- Lowering or raising kitchen countertops
- Adding handrails to kitchen walls
- New, safety featured appliances
- Upgraded kitchen lighting for better vision
- Custom cabinetry for easier access
- Upgrade to non-slip, easy maintenance flooring
Accessibility Features for the Home
- Accessibility Ramps for the access and egress
- Additional handrailings on staircases
- Non-slip flooring
- Grab bars and handrails near corners and transition areas
Statistics from the World Health Organization tell us that falls are the leading cause of injury and the second leading cause of accidental death among people 65 years of age and older worldwide. In fact, one in three Americans over the age of 65 loses their balance, falls down, and is injured every single year. And the Journal Of The Royal Society of Medicine also reports that an astonishing one-third of people over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year!
“Globally, falls are a major public health problem. An estimated 646 000 fatal falls occur each year, making it the second leading cause of unintentional injury death, after road traffic injuries. In all regions of the world, death rates are highest among adults over the age of 60 years (WHO).”
According to the CDC:
- Nearly one in three older Americans fall each year.
- One in five falls causes serious harm, such as broken bones or a head injury.
- At least 250,000 older persons are hospitalized every year from hip fractures, with 95% of these caused by falling.
- Falling injuries result in $34 billion in direct costs every year.
Fall Prevention Strategies (WHO)
“Effective fall prevention programmes aim to reduce the number of people who fall, the rate of falls and the severity of injury should a fall occur. For older individuals, fall prevention programmes can include a number of components to identify and modify risk, such as:”
- Screening within living environments for risks for falls;
- Clinical interventions to identify risk factors, such as medication review and modification, treatment of low blood pressure, vitamin D and calcium supplementation, treatment of correctable visual impairment;
- Home assessment and environmental modification for those with known risk factors or a history of falling;
- Prescription of appropriate assistive devices to address physical and sensory impairments;
- Muscle strengthening and balance retraining prescribed by a trained health professional;
- Community-based group programmes which may incorporate fall prevention education and Tai Chi-type exercises or dynamic balance and strength training;
- Use of hip protectors for those at risk of a hip fracture due to a fall.
As our loved ones age, it may be wise and prudent to install discreet and stylish accessibility features around the home to keep them independent, mobile, and safe. Adding these small home improvements gives the entire family an added sense of confidence, security, and peace of mind. Accessibility upgrades don’t have to be done all at once, and none of these small improvements needs to be expensive. The entire home safety retro-fitting process can be designed, planned, budgeted, and installed in increments over time.
Mom and dad have used to do everything for us, and they taught us how to raise our own children through their example. Now they need our help to age with grace, dignity, independence, and security.
Contact us to schedule a no obligation accessibility assessment. It’s simple, convenient, and completely free.
It’s our responsibility to do all we can to keep those we love safe from harm. Let’s schedule some time to look at strategies for keeping mom and dad safe around the house.
Call today! 517-918-6530