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Q: What is the best way to create a safe and happy enviroment for my loved ones?

Posted May 08, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Nearly 66 million people, or 29 percent of the U.S. adult population, are providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, according to the National Center for Caregiving.

Once you have determined the best place for your loved one to reside — whether he or she lives independently, in an assisted living facility or in your home — you’ll need to create a safe environment.

Since most slips and falls occur in the bathroom — often while getting in and out of the tub or shower — We recommend adding grab bars, using non-skid mats on the tub or shower floors and installing a handheld showerhead for easier bathing. Also add grab bars next to toilet for easier access. By the time a person is 60 years old, he or she needs up to 15 times more light. Replace all hallway and kitchen fixtures with higher wattage bulbs or brighter LED lights for added illumination. Also, add nightlights for any middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.

To avoid tripping or bumping hazards — and adequate room for walkers, canes or wheelchairs — move larger furniture against the wall to create more open walkways throughout the home/room. Remove loose rugs or use double-sided tape to ensure they are securely anchored. Finally, be sure that any wires and cords are out of the way to prevent tripping and falls. Other helpful additions include adding rails to the bed, as well as keeping everything within arms’ reach, such as a telephone, clock, lamp and other necessities.

Information provided by Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center, 100 Ram Drive, Jefferson, 515-386-4107.

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