Danger zones in home: Safety hazards for elderly

6:59 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
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AVON -- Karen Kitchen loves when her 88-year-old father comes to visit but she also worries.

"He has a bad back condition that has gotten terribly worse, so he's gone from a cane, to a walker, to now a motorized wheelchair," Karen says.

Lynn Imondi, an Occupational Therapist with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), says it's important for homeowners to look for potential dangers.

"My biggest concern is that one of the dogs will knock him over. We have a lot of hazards along the way, like toys and dog beds," Karen says.

That's why she plans ahead for her Dad's visit, like keeping the dogs out of his way until he's settled in a chair.

Lynn says always keep walkways clear and think about getting in and out of the house.

"Often times, people will use the front door out of habit, but the back door or garage door may be best because of the shelter most have over them," Lynn says.

She says floor clutter can be deadly.

"If a walker or cane is involved, pull up the throw rug, get rid of the extra things that are on the floor, and make that space very open and easy to walk through," Lynn says.

Keep areas well lit or contrasted to help with vision issues.

"A white table cloth and white plates are beautiful, but may be hard to see if you have vision problems, so it might be better to have white plates, with a gold or black table cloth," Lynn says.

One of the most dangerous areas is the bathroom. Make sure there's plenty of room and safe and easy access.

"Ideally, the height of the seat should be the height of a chair. There's actually equipment out there, around $30, that you can buy to raise the seat. The best thing is to either have a high toilet seat or the raised toilet seat with handles, so that mom or dad can hold onto them to push up to get off and out," Lynn says.











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