Having our loved ones close by is important as people are living longer. As our seniors become older, they may have more needs to ensure that they live pain- and injury-free. Beyond medical devices and medications, there are small changes we can make around the house to make things a little bit easier for them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to make our homes a bit safer for ourselves (and our little ones) too!
● Cushioned mats wherever seniors stand a lot. Depending on how mobile our older loved ones are, they may participate in many household activities, including cooking. Cushioned mats can help soften stress on the foot and ankle joints (especially for those who have arthritis) wherever they might stand for long periods of time. In front of bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, vanities, stoves, and/or islands are places where you can use mats.
● Change to/from carpets, from/to smooth flooring, based on shoe wearing preferences. Some seniors, such as those with diabetic neuropathy, may have to wear special shoes or sneakers in the home to protect from accidental injury. In these cases, or if they are used to wearing shoes in the home, carpets with medium or high piles can be dangerous as it can trip them up. Replace these types of carpets with low pile carpets or to smooth flooring like hardwood floors. On the other hand, if seniors like to walk without shoes (or barefoot), carpets with cushioning can help reduce the impact on their foot and ankle joints.
● Socks or slippers with anti-slip grippy bottoms. Slips and falls are some of the biggest concerns for older loved ones since it can very much affect mobility. Keep feet and ankles safe with socks and slippers with anti-slip grips on the bottom.
● Anti-slip Bath mats, handlebars. Showers and bathtubs are a prime location where the feet can slip out from under any of us. Using rubber bathtub mats and secure handlebars to help seniors get in and out of the tub will reduce the chance of slipping on these wet surfaces.
● Anti-slip strips on stairs. Stairs are also areas in which feet can slip and cause a fall injury. If you are worried about slippery stairs, use anti-slip strips on your stairs, or make sure that your seniors do not wear slippery socks on stairs.
● Lighted pathways in the evening. Trip risks are high when there is less visibility. Help out your seniors and light up areas they might walk in during the evening. Outside, use path lighting to guide their feet. Inside, use motion detection or night-lights.
We hope these suggestions help make your home safer for your family. If your older loved one seems to have foot or ankle issues, make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group to find the best treatment. Our team of dedicated podiatrists, can help you at our Jonesboro, AR office.