The population of older adults living independently is growing, making home safety an increasingly important public health issue.
One-third of adults over the age of 65 will fall once a year, making falls the the most common accident across the elderly population by far. Thirty to fifty percent of falls result in a minor injury, while ten percent result in major injuries, such as fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
Although some falls are caused by health issues like dementia, vision impairments, and low blood pressure, it’s not uncommon for them to be caused by environmental factors. Fifty-five percent of falls happen in the home; thirty-percent of those falls happen in the bedroom.
In order to prevent a fall or injury, consider these safety tips when styling your bedroom:
1. Keep out the clutter
Clutter, especially if found in a walkway, is a common tripping hazard. For the sake of your safety, keep your room as tidy as you can to prevent an accident. Before you go to bed, at least make sure you have a clear path to the bathroom or bedroom exit.
2. Add a nightlight
Vision impairments increase the risk of a fall. When optimizing your bedroom for safety, keep pathways and bathrooms lit with a night light. That way if you have to get up in the middle of the night, you will be able to navigate around the room with ease.
3. Choose the right bed
The bed you sleep in plays a big role in your safety. Seniors want to look for a mattress that can easily climb in and out of. If your mattress is causing you aches and pains that make it even more difficult to get up, it might be time for an upgrade.
Using an adjustable base is a great way to help seniors get in and out of bed easily, not to mention, the many health benefits of adjustable bases.
Sleeping slightly elevated can prevent acid reflux, snoring, and pain management. Seniors that suffer from overnight leg swelling and fluid buildup benefit from adjustable beds because they can elevate their legs. This elevation is known to minimize swelling and stiffness, making morning movement a bit easier.
Finally, seniors might also consider installing bed rails to minimize the chance of a fall.
4. Minimize dangerous decor
Rugs and long drapes also pose the threat of a potential fall. When it comes to styling your room for safety, it’s better to remove any tripping hazards, rather than taking a risk.
Additionally, consider the pieces used to furnish your room. Does your furniture have sharp corners? If so, opt for rounded tables and other pieces with soft curves. Look for plush couches and seating. These will minimize the risk of an accidental cut.
5. Make sure wall decor is secure
Shelves and another wall decor run the risk of falling. Make sure mirrors, shelves, and picture frames are securely fastened to the wall. Never hang items over the head of your bed.
Safety trumps style, especially if you are living alone. Make sure your environment is free of tripping hazards that may cause a freak accident. While there are some health risks out of your control, your home is a place that doesn’t have to be dangerous.
Lisa Smalls is a freelance writer from North Carolina. After taking care of her grandmother in her old age, she has become passionate about educating on sleep health in seniors.