Let’s face it. We get clumsy with age. According to the National Council on Aging, among elderly adults, the most common fatal and non-fatal traumatic injury is falls. Interior design solutions can help.
Being a senior doesn’t necessarily mean that you are bound to fall. There are many reasons for our clumsiness. Clutter, stairs and slippery floors can get the best of almost anyone. However, sudden symptoms from things like heart disease, respiratory disease, and osteoporosis can cause us to fall more easily as we get older.
Since many falls are preventable with some guidance, we have put together helpful interior design tips for safe navigation in your home.
Lighting is Key
Trying to move blindly through a space is challenging for anyone. Imagine blindfolding yourself and walking through a maze. You’d hit a wall about every five seconds, so of course you would never do this.
Now imagine being blindfolded while walking through your home. Think about all the pieces of furniture you could kick, bump, and even flip over. Most of the time we can navigate these items, but in the dark it becomes harder to do so.
This is why having decent lighting throughout every room is the most important tip on this post.
Have a lamp around every corner that doesn’t have a light switch for the room. If you’re in a room that has a light switch on the opposite side of the room, such as your bedroom, put a lamp nearby that can help guide the way to the light switch. You want to have a series of lights that you can turn on as you go that will help to light the path to the next one.
Natural lighting is always a plus as well. During the day it helps you to use less electricity, and of course it also adds more light to the space without you having to turn on a light source.
Clear Your Path
Hallways are the perfect trap for bumping into things. Hallways are usually narrow spaces, and sometimes we tend to use them for those furniture pieces that don’t have anywhere else to go. t Instead of trying to maneuver through the chaos, clear your hallway.
Doing this leaves less room for hurting yourself and ultimately falling, and more room for walking. Open spaces also help us to feel less burdened as well.
Interior Design Tips for Your Living Room
There are a few things you can do to your living room to make it more navigable. Start off by giving yourself seating options. Choose three main pieces that allow you to change up where you sit.
If you have a great comfy couch, add a firm arm chair so you that have a variety of surfaces to choose from on any given day. You might also want to add a reclining chair. That way you have a comfortable solution to relax on those days you’re feeling sore.
Be sure that when you are placing furniture in a space to not over do it. If the area simply doesn’t allow you to have three big pieces, don’t force them to fit. If you avoid clutter, you will avoid falls.
Attempt to find round side tables rather than square or rectangle tables. The reason for this tip is that it always hurts much more ramming your leg or hip into a corner than it does when you hit a rounder edge. This will save you some bumps and bruises along the way.
A great alternative to a rectangular coffee table is an oversized ottoman. You can place a decorative serving tray on it to make up for the loss of the coffee table. Cushioned ottomans are also great because if you do ever bump into it, you’ll hardly notice.
Find the Right Floorplan
The best floorplan for us aging adults is a flat one. The less hazard for tripping, the better. Try to eliminate the using the stairs in your home if you aren’t confident you’ll make it to the top.
Like I’ve said in a past post, I’m an advocate for using the stairs to get some exercise in for the day, but if it means risking injury, just avoid them.
Last but Certainly Not Least
The bathroom. The easiest place of all to experience a fall. Bathroom changes to help you prevent falling are obvious, but I still feel obligated to mention them.
Install grab bars near your toilet and in your shower. These alone could be a life saver.
Slipping in the shower is not fun, especially if you are elderly and may have trouble getting yourself back up. Get a non-slip rubber bath mat to place in the floor of your shower as we;;
Lastly, try to prevent yourself from having to get on your tip toes to reach something. Place everything at an easy to reach level to ensure that you aren’t straining your back. Thus, preventing a fall.
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