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Home Safety Important to Seniors Recovering from Surgery

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If a parent is planning to stay at your house to recover from surgery or illness, make sure your home is a safe haven by which to recuperate. If you're a working family caregiver, consider professional caregiving assistance as well.

Q. My 72-year-old mother will live with us for a few months while she recovers from hip surgery. What can I do to make sure our home is safe for her?

With Mom at your home recovering from surgery, you'll want to make sure that she's safe from falls, which are one of the leading causes of death and injury for older American and Canadian adults.


Before she comes to stay with you, review the following list:

  • Make sure your floors are not slick.
  • Remove throw rugs and loose mats. Make sure larger rugs are not rippled or torn.
  • Remove extension cords and other potential tripping hazards such as books, clothes and shoes from pathways.
  • Move low tables and other furniture to make it easier for your mom to move around your house.
  • Make sure chairs are the right height and have sturdy armrests.
  • Check to ensure light fixtures have at least 60-watt bulbs and that nightlights are available in hallways, bathrooms and her bedroom.
  • Make sure handrails in your home are sturdy and in good repair.
  • Use non-skid mats in the bathtub and on shower floors and install grab bars next to the toilet or shower if necessary.
  • Keep medications and other items that your mother will need within her easy reach.

In addition, make sure your mother's eyesight is good and that her glasses are the correct prescription. Also, ask your mother's pharmacist or doctor to review the medications she's taking. Some medications, or combinations of medications, may make your mom drowsy, which could lead to a fall.

If you work outside the home or need extra help caring for your mother, consider asking for assistance from family and friends or hiring a professional caregiving company. Companies such as Home Instead®; often provide respite care to family caregivers.

Home Instead CAREGiversSM complete a comprehensive training program including a safety curriculum to prepare them for potential senior caregiving emergencies. We wish your mother a successful recovery.

Last revised: July 15, 2011

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