Simple Changes Can Make Homes Safer for Elderly
05/14/2009

WINNSBORO, Texas — For many people, home is the place to restore their energies, but sometimes modifications are needed to make the home safe for elderly loved ones.

“Families should ask occupational therapists, physicians, or other experts for information on what steps they can take to help their loved ones reduce in-home injuries,” said Jose Santos, a physical therapist and rehabilitation service manager at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Winnsboro. “If modifications are needed, families should contact a reputable builder who has experience modifying homes for elderly people.”

The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends people look at the following areas:

  • Bathroom: enlarge the shower space, install handheld shower heads, grab bars around the bathtub walls, and replace toilet with a higher model or longer seat for people in a wheelchair.
  • Kitchen: lower sinks and countertops and install counters with a rounded corner.
  • Hallways and doorways: create entryways and hallways with a 32-inch clearance, ensure thresholds are level with the floor, install secure carpets/runners and handrails.
  • Living room and bedroom: place furniture in rooms with wide and clear passage, arrange the bed and phone with easy accessibility for people in a wheelchair.
  • Home security system: install a security system for people who are likely to wander.

“Understandably it’s hard to give up the independence of living alone, but sometimes help is needed to make the living environment safe,” Santos said. “Families often can worry less and help maintain their loved ones’ independence by looking at environmental changes.”

For more information, visit aota.org.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Winnsboro
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Winnsboro is a 50-bed acute-care, full-service hospital serving Wood, Franklin, Hopkins, Rains and Camp counties since 1985. The hospital's services include wound care, diabetes care, diagnostic imaging, surgery and pulmonary rehabilitation. Texas Health Winnsboro is an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Winnsboro.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 14 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, and Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health Organization for Physicians and Texas Health Physicians Group provide a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.