Easy Fixes to Ensure your Elderly Loved Ones are Safer in Their Home
Part 2 – Lights and Electrics
In my first article of this series we looked at how our elderly relatives and loved ones can safely enter their home with the help of a few easy fixes and tips. With this article we are going to look at how we can make things easy and manageable around the home and in particular the lighting and electrics.
I think we all realise the importance of lighting for our elderly relatives and loved ones, however, we need to think about good lighting around the home. So make sure there is adequate lighting in all rooms and also think about in between the rooms, hallways and landings should have good lighting too, so if there is not any consider putting some in. To have a few lights wired to the mains will require a qualified and certificated electrician and should not be tackled as a do it yourself project. This could be expensive depending on the amount of extra lighting required, however, a cheaper and more convenient alternative are battery operated lamps that can be mounted on the wall. Some of these require basic DIY skills and others have adhesive strips on the back and can be placed wherever there is a need for extra lighting. These wall lamps usually use energy conserving LED bulbs so battery life is extended. These convenient and easy wall lamps are available in different styles and colours to fit into the majority of homes.
Floor or table lamps placed in your elderly loved one’s or relative’s favourite place is a good idea, such as next to their favourite chair or bedside table. Ensure that the switches for these are easy accessible and can be operated with ease.
Whilst on the subject of switches,have you considered the height of the light switches? They tend to all be placed at a similar height in houses. If your elderly loved one or relative have mobility issues consider whether the switches are at the most convenient height and are placed in appropriate and easily accessible places. If not speak with a qualified and certificated electrician who will be able to advise you where you could move switches and also give you a quote for the work.
Every house is reliant on electricity, from lighting to cooking, heating and all the items we have that require that make our lives easier and more satisfying. Most homes have their cooking, lighting and heating electrical supplies pre fitted and there is little we can do with these other than considering the placement of switches and controls as previously discussed. We can, however, think about all those electrical items around the home and how easy they can be safely operated by our elderly loved ones and relatives.
Plug sockets are usually placed just above floor level and can be very difficult for those with mobility problems to access. An easy fix for this can be placing extension sockets on the wall at a height that is convenient and easily accessible. As with all extension cables and sockets ensure they have the British Standard kite mark and purchased from a reputable outlet. It is definitely worth spending a couple of pounds extra to ensure the safety of these items. When placing the extension sockets on the wall consider not only the appropriate height but also can they be accessed easily? Is there a direct route without having to negotiate furniture? When fixed to wall correctly ensure any cables are fixed to using cable clips or hooks to eliminate the risks of trips, slips and falls. Extension sockets and cables can be obtained in many colours to blend in with the decor of the home.
Plugs can sometimes be quite hard to remove from their sockets, I think we can all recall those particularly difficult ones that require quite a tug to remove. For our elderly relatives and loved ones this can be extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. A simple self adhesive handle can be put on these plugs which enables them to be removed with much less effort and helps those with reduced hand strength to safely remove plugs from their sockets. These handles are fairly inexpensive, quite widely available and can be purchased in different colours so those with eyesight difficulties can operate them with ease.
I hope this article has given you food for thought and also helped you think about how you can easily make the lives of our loved ones and relatives that bit easier with a bit of forethought. Next time I will be looking at more tips and easy fixes to assist with living an independent life.