Ensuring a Safe Living Environment

Max is 82 and enjoys reminiscing. While experiencing some memory loss, he is grateful for his possessions and albums full of photographs that remind him of his past. He has severe osteoporosis but now finds his things are in the way of his walker. Max will need to downsize.

To keep older adults safe, we need to help them create a clutter-free environment that allows them to move about securely. According to the National Council on Aging, over 75% of falls happen in the home, and clutter is a problem.

How does one decide what to get rid of? Some items are safety hazards.

• Throw rugs are trip hazards and should have as any area rug should non-slip backings. Protruding
furniture particularly corners, should be covered with padding.

• Wall hangings should not stick out too much.

• Surfaces need to be clear, not just because the space is needed, but they need to be able to be
cleaned well. It is easier to maintain a cleaner home with less objects to clean and less items in
the way.

In the process of deciding which items to keep and which to part with, the older adult will need physical help and emotional support.

• Items that are not wanted, needed, or used should be given away, choose family and friends, or     donate them to the needy.

• Another choice is to sell them at second-hand shops or on websites such as E-bay.

• Collect photographs and sort them into albums or scrapbooks.

For a better understanding of hoarding or to find help, check out the website of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America: