It’s understandable that your loved one wants to age in place. But, you probably have concerns over how safe the home is for your loved one, and whether or not it will accommodate them as they grow older. Slips and falls are some of the most common worries for family members, but many of these accidents can be avoided by safeguarding the home.

If you are in a position to modify your loved one’s home to fit their needs, below are some helpful tips to keep in mind. Otherwise, you will find assistance by hiring Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) who are remodelers, general contractors, architects, designers and health care professionals who take part in a special program that works with modifying homes for seniors. A professional will go through your loved one’s home and point out ways to make it safer. To find one in your area, visit www.nahb.org.

Let’s take a look at helpful tips for making your loved one’s home as safe as possible.

  • Take a good look at what the house entails and how it will meet your loved one’s needs in the future. Are the doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker? Are there a lot of stairs? Is there a bathroom on the first floor? Could you turn a room on the first floor into a bedroom?

  • Keep all important items within reach. Stock cabinets low so that your loved one doesn’t need to do any reaching or climbing on step stools. Don’t put heavy items on the top shelves, either. Now is a great time to do a clean sweep and keep the items that are necessary.

  • Ensure that the home is well lit. You can layer the light so that there is adequate lighting for reading, watching television and cooking. For brighter lights, you can increase the wattage or install new, brighter lights, or just give them a good cleaning and install new bulbs. Keep all stairways illuminated as well.

  • The bathroom is where a lot of slips and falls happen. Think about replacing a traditional tub with a walk-in shower. Install handlebars around the bathroom for assistance, such as by the toilet and shower.

  • Stairs are always a worry, but you can make them safer. Make sure all stairs have a sturdy railing and are not slippery. Keep them free of clutter. If possible, you can keep everything on one floor and reserve the upper level for storage or guest rooms. Electric chairs are always a possibility as well.

  • Look low and identify potential hazards for trips and falls, such as loose extension cords and other types of clutter. Wrap cords together and keep them tucked behind or underneath furniture. If clutter is commonplace, arrange wicker baskets in corners and keep the items in there.

  • If the home has rugs and floor mats, make sure they have grippers on the bottom so they do not slide around.

  • Consider an aging in place technology such as devices that allow loved ones to stay in touch or reach an emergency response team if need be. These devices cost a monthly fee for the service, but they are invaluable.