How Do You Arrange a Living Room to Reduce the Risk of a Fall?

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

July 17, 2017

Elder Care in Pittsburgh PA: Reducing the Risk of Falls for Seniors.
Elder Care in Pittsburgh PA: Reducing the Risk of Falls for Seniors.

You want your parent’s living room to be comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.  The wrong layout, however, can increase the risk of a fall.
Here are rules you should follow when arranging your mom or dad’s living room.
Arrangements Needed to Consider Typical Routes
When your mom or dad gets up to go to the kitchen or bathroom, what path is used?  If there are furnishings that block the most direct path, consider rearranging the furnishings to create clear paths to frequently used areas.
Furniture Shouldn’t Be Too Low or Soft
If the furniture is too soft or sits too low to the ground, your aging parent may struggle to get out of it.  Some seniors will end up falling over in the attempt to get enough momentum to stand up.  Rather than increasing the fall risk, choose seating that is higher off the ground.  Also, look for furniture that has arms your mom or dad can safely grab.  Firmer seating with better back support will also make it easier to stand up.
Power Cords Should Be Out of the Way
If you want a lamp to be in one spot, but the nearest outlet is across the floor on an opposite wall, don’t risk it.  Even if you cover the cord with tape or a rug, you’re increasing the chances of tripping and falling.  Make sure power cords are out of the way, preferably hidden behind furniture.
Rugs Can Trip
Over time, the edges of a throw rug can curl up.  As your mom or dad walks through the room, toes might catch that curl.  Rugs may also slip on smooth surfaces like hardwood flooring.  The resulting fall can lead to serious injuries.  Try not to use rugs.  If they are essential to your design, put non-slip padding under the rug and inspect regularly for curled edges.
Sharp Corners and Edges Are Best Avoided
If a table has a sharp corner or edge, your mom or dad may bump it or catch it with loose clothing.  Walking in the table may leave some bruises.  More importantly, if the corner snags clothing, it can pull your loved-one off balance.  Rounded edges are a better idea when picking an end or coffee table.
Even with a safe living room design, your mom or dad might need additional help around the house.  You can have a caregiver from an elderly care service available to help your mom or dad get up and to the bathroom safely.  Caregivers also help with transportation, housekeeping, and meals.  Call an elderly care service to talk about the services a caregiver can offer your aging parent.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Pittsburgh, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care.
Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551