For accessible homes: If you have an ageing parent(s), regardless if they're staying with you on they're living on their own, it's best to engage an occupational therapy or physiotherapy specialist to do a walkthrough assessment of your/their accessible homes to identify and highlight possible problem areas that are high risk to causing injuries such as falls. In this article we will look at accessible homes where they stay in.
Accessibility refers to ease of access in terms of convenience, safety and comfort.
Accessible Area Outside Of Homes
Usually the areas outside of homes are more well lit in the day time, but take note that it doesn't become too bright/hot as that can cause fainting episodes due to dehydration or overexposure to sunlight. If they enjoy gardening, do install an extendible veranda for them to be protected from the heat and brightness, but allow winds to blow in. Do install garden chairs and places chairs in strategic places within the compound and garden areas, where they can rest whenever they're tired. Do ensure that they wear adequate footwear that will protect their feet from sharp objects or toxic/natural poisons. If you park your car in the compound, try to ensure that it doesn't leak oil, as that will cause the grounds to be slippery.
Accessible Homes Inside
Inside the house, it'd be best for the home to be well lit, be it in the day time or night time. The switches for the lights should be easily accessible and easy to flip. If the finishing of the floor is polished, they should also wear adequate footwear to prevent slippage, and if you mop/polish the floor, they should not be walking on it until the floor is dry. Minimize any clutter in the house, and remove flimsy and loose furniture such as tall tables or low stools and loose rugs that can be easily tripped over. Make sure that you have firm and heavy chairs with arm rests placed strategically all over the home for them to rest whenever they're tired, and if allowed, install grab bars along walkways and corridors as well as night lights.
If you have stairs in the house, they should be accompanied with grab bars and railings on either sides, and bright tape should be marked at each step edge to highlight the change of depth. If they are more prone to falls, it'd be advised for them to stay on the lower, level ground, to minimize going up and down stairs. If you have carpets installed, or you prefer carpets in your home, make sure it's a low-grain carpets, about 1 cm tall, and no taller than 2 cm as the higher the carpet grains and material, the more unstable it is for those who walk on it.
These are some general advise for you, but if you are cautious and are concerned about having injuries or falls in the house, it will be best if you engage your local physiotherapy and occupational therapy group (if you don't know anyone, check with your family physician; if you're in Singapore, we'll be more than happy to help you) to both assess your family member and prescribe a physiotherapy program; as well as to assess the accessibility of bathrooms.