Mom or Dad's Cluttered Home - How to Keep Elderly Parent's Safe

Your older parents probably have clutter - including throw rugs. These things cause falls. Falls are a leading cause of death and long-term health care. Declutter their home and start thinking about your future aging.

Recommend This Page
Mom or Dad's Cluttered Home - How to Keep Elderly Parent's Safe
5 Min Read March 28th, 2021

How long have your parents lived in their home? For many older people, they have lived in their current home for some time. They usually are not interested in leaving their home. Older people are more prone to falls, and the results of a fall are a leading cause of death and long-term care. 

The National Institute on Aging says the fear of falling increases as a person gets older, even if they have not experienced a fall. Because of the fear, some older people avoid normal activities, including walking and shopping.

Many of these falls are in their home. The CDC reports that more than one out of four older people falls each year, but many never tell their doctor. If an older person does fall, it doubles their chance of having another fall.

Often the first wake-up sign for an adult son or daughter that Mom or Dad may have some significant aging issues is when they learn of an emergency room visit

Those Rugs are Dangerous

A person tripping on a rug.

Texas A&M Health Science Center

The primary causes of falls at home are rugs and clutter. Home hazards like broken or uneven steps and throw rugs, or other clutter that can easily be tripped over are one of several reasons people fall at home.

A New England study showed the most common cause of an indoor fall result in an injury was throw rugs. Other obstacles that clutter people's homes are cited as reasons for falls in older people.

Why do older adults love their throw rugs? Why do they clutter their homes? Not every older person does these things, but they risk their own health and safety when they do.

Reasons for Falls – Other Than Rugs

In addition to clutter (including those rugs), there are other reasons people fall in their homes. The CDC says they include:

  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Lower body weakness
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Medication use like tranquilizers, sedatives, and antidepressants. Some over-the-counter medicines can also affect a person's balance. 
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Some of these health issues are normal things that happen as we get older. We all experience changes in our health, body, and mind once we get past age 40. The problems become more pronounced when we get into our 60s and beyond. 

Suffering the Indignities of Aging

Many people are trying to stay as independent as possible, even in their 70s and 80s. They want to stay in their homes. Their family might suggest downsizing, uncluttering their home, or even going to independent living or, if necessary, assisted living. However, often they resist.

Carol Bradley Bursack, an author, columnist, consultant, and speaker, says parents get tired of being bossed around. She writes that parents get sick and tired of "suffering the indignities of aging." She writes that they feel "bossed around by everyone from the government to their kids, and you can understand why they often get stubborn."

"Where they live maybe, in their minds, is their "last stand," she says.

Ways to Keep Them Safe

Fall Death Rates in the U.S. increased 30% from 2007 to 2016 for older adults.

The CDC says falls are a major concern and the death rates from falls have increased. Plus, the risk of needing long-term health care following a fall is significant. There are some suggestions to keep them safe in their homes.

Clear up clutter and get rid of the throw rugs. Walkways should be clear. Anything that a person could easily trip over should be removed. This includes things like pet bowls, telephone cords, and wires. Walkthrough the person's house and look for anything that could cause Mom or Dad to trip and fall.

Ensure there is enough light throughout the house Night lights can be helpful when your older parent gets up in the middle of the night. Also, be sure to place often-used items in easy reach. Some falls are caused when a senior stands on a stool to get to something.

Getting Rid of Clutter Isn’t Easy for Older People

Getting people to get rid of their stuff is no easy task, especially for both kids and the elderly. It is even harder as you get older to let go of items you have had for decades.  

Vickie Dellaquila is a professional organizer. She has had years of experience in this area and wrote the book – Don't Toss My Memories In The Trash.

She outlines ten reasons why older adults have a problem parting with items they have owned for so many years. One of the reasons is the sentimental attachment they have for the item. They are also reluctant to give away anything that was given to them as a gift. This sense of loyalty just adds to clutter.

There are other reasons, including a fear of change. This fear of change increases as you get older and the unknown future is something they dwell on. 

The problem of what to get rid of increases as a person moves, either due to downsizing or moving into a long-term care facility. Keeping your older parent safe is goal one. Being proactive by getting rid of clutter and removing throw rugs will make them safer as they get older.

Your Parents May Be Getting Older – But So are You!

As you think about the changes your older parents are facing, start thinking about your future and the costs of burdens you will face because of aging. There are many challenges your family will deal with unless you plan for them now.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will give you guaranteed tax-free resources so you can afford your choice of quality care, including in-home care. Many policies include care coordination to help your family develop a plan of care, find quality caregivers, and help you have a safe place at home to live so you can avoid a facility.

The best time to obtain coverage is when you are in your 40s or 50s, when premiums are low and your health is at its best. Be sure to seek the assistance of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. The specialist should work with the major companies and have a very good understanding of policy design, underwriting rules, and claims. 

Find a trusted and experienced specialist by clicking here.

Recommend This Page

About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

A solid retirement plan should include a plan for longevity and the impact that long-term health care will have on you, your family, income, savings, lifestyle, and legacy. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you access to your choice of quality care either at home or in a facility.

Research Tools on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers many resources to learn about the available options and learn about long-term health care issues. Click here and discover these resources. 

This comprehensive guide is an outstanding first-read -  The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide. Be sure to take notes so you can ask the appropriate questions when you speak with a qualified and trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist.

Advertising and Marketing Opportunities on LTC NEWS

Reach an educated audience. Readers of LTC NEWS are researching retirement issues, including aging, health, caregiving, and long-term care. Other readers seek information for a parent or other loved one who is experiencing declining health or aging issues and require extended care.   

Many marketing opportunities are available, including sponsored content articles. Sponsored content offers you a long-form way to sell yourself, your company, and your ideas.

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business - click here.

Be Published on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers many resources to help families address the consequences of long-term care, aging, health, caregiving, and other retirement issues. You can be part of the effort to help educate consumers throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Write a story for publication on LTC NEWS and let America hear what you have to say. Be sure your article fits the LTC NEWS target audience of adults 40-70.

Email your story idea or article: or click here

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Work With a Trusted Specialist

Get Accurate Long-Term Care Insurance Quotes

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies
man and woman sitting at desk
Connect With a Long-Term Care Specialist

Find Affordable Insurance and the Right Coverage.

LTC News Trusted & Verified
Learn More
  • Latest

  • Oldest

  • Homecare

  • Health

  • Government

  • Care Facilities

  • Pets

  • People

  • Lifestyle

  • Insurance

Step 1 of 4

Find a Specialist

Get Started Today

Trusted & Verified Specialists

Work with a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist Today

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Compare Insurers


Claim this listing

Fill out this short form

Step Number:


Request Listing Edit

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Step Number:


Are you a customer of this business, or are you an employee?