Enjoying a fall day in the warm sunshine is an excellent break from indoors. And, the family home care environment offers the flexibility of stepping outdoors for fresh air and the brisk breeze. As a home caregiver, providing outdoor opportunities for your aging parents or other loved ones can be a refreshing diversion if lawn safety tips are kept in mind. Here are a few reminders to help ensure that lawn safety addresses senior needs.
Lawn Safety Tips
1. Up, up, and away with the garden hose!
An unwound garden hose that snakes its way around your property is just begging for someone to trip over it. When you finish watering the lawn, be sure to roll the hose back up and, if possible, put it away on a hanging hook so that it is off the ground and away from unstable feet.
2. Consider ditching the doormat.
Doormats are great for catching dust before it enters the house, but some mats can be a bit treacherous for seniors. On the other hand, if your porch or stoop tends to be slippery, a doormat can be a good safeguard. Consider whether a doormat is necessary for your situation, and if not, remove it. If you do need to keep your doormat, make sure that it is one that stays in place and does not slide around. Check to make sure that it’s not so thick or so unevenly textured that feet may stumble across it.
3. Put toys in their places.
If you have young children or grandchildren, make sure that they know that outdoor toys and games must be put in safe places. A toy truck or hard-to-see croquet wicket can spell disaster for unwary aging parents.
4. Remove troublesome plants.
Make it easier for your loved one to enjoy a lovely day outside.
You really don’t want any poison ivy or poison oak in your yard to begin with, but don’t run the risk of having a senior rub up against it and suffer the consequences. Eradicate the weeds by using appropriate herbicides for your area.
5. Stow tools away.
After a busy afternoon of yard work, make sure that you put the shovel, spade, trowel, and other tools safely away. If you’re not actively using the grill at the moment, put away the forks, knives, and skewers as well.
6. Keep Fido inside.
Some people have dogs that are very well behaved; others have some that are not. If your pet becomes overly excited when he’s outside, you may need to put him inside or keep him leashed while you have seniors in the yard. Fido may think he’s just being friendly, but a friendly jump could be unbalancing.
8. Make certain gates latch properly.
Especially near pools or areas leading into heavy auto traffic.
9. Create a senior-friendly gardening area.
If your loved one is a gardener, consider creating a waist-high raised bed where favorite tomato plants or seasonal flowers can be tended easily.
10. Take inventory.
Finally, take a look around when you’re outside. Try to pinpoint anything that could be an obstacle for your aging parents. Are the stepping stones level and secure? Are sidewalks level and smooth? Are all holes in the lawn back filled with leveling soil?
Even during winter, there are plenty of days when you and your loved ones will want to be outside. Making your yard a little safer will make those days less stressful and more enjoyable.