Whether seniors you help care for live with you or on their own, you want to be comfortable with their general living situation. As people age, seemingly innocuous home conditions pose potential dangers for seniors, and you want to avoid these hazards as much as possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injuries for older adults, affecting one out of three people aged 65 and over. Identifying obvious tripping hazards in senior homes is the first step to preventing falls.
As you walk around the home in question, are there areas that seem cluttered? Are there throw rugs, cords, or pet toys that are potential tripping hazards? Arrange the furniture so you can walk freely without bumping into things. If necessary, have a rummage sale to reduce the number of furniture pieces.
The lights around the home is another key feature to check on. Install lights that come on automatically outside, and make sure light switches are in convenient places that won’t require reaching for them or walking into a dark room in order to turn them on. Install night-lights in the bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom that automatically turn on at night.
Create a Home Safety Checklist
It’s helpful to create a safety checklist when making improvements so you can keep track of it all. Include areas just outside your home, such as the walkways and sidewalks. Hiring someone to cut the grass, put salt on the walk, or plow snow can help put your mind at ease.
You might also want to hire someone to install handrails in the home, especially in the bathroom around the toilet and shower areas. You might also find them helpful in the bedroom or on the stairs.
Also, make sure there are working smoke alarms outside of the bedrooms, and check the batteries regularly. A good rule of thumb is to check the batteries on daylight savings time twice a year. Add a portable fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and make sure your senior knows how to use it. Install a carbon monoxide detector and have a planned escape route mapped out in case of emergency.
For full peace of mind, try Philips Lifeline’s HomeSafe medical alert system to give your senior quick access to a Response Associate for help any time of the day with the push of a button. You’ll sleep better knowing that there’s a system in place for your seniors to receive quick aid.
One AARP study found that 75 percent of seniors have a desire to stay in their own home. By making senior homes as safe as you can, you’ll go a long way toward helping prevent falls and injuries. It will also make your seniors, and you, a lot more comfortable.