Caring for the older adults, like an aging parent or relative, is one of the most challenging things in life. To make sure that they get the best care in your house or if they’d rather want to maintain their independence in their own homes, you can help them stay safe with some preventive measures. It is important to remember that some aging seniors are less mobile, so moving can be a challenge.
Injuries from accidental falls can be fatal, and while those can be scary, there are ways to keep the elderly safe. Here are some home safety tips for the seniors.
If you have an elderly at home who is prone to fall risks, have their health-care provider assess them and your home. Geriatric experts, including therapists, can provide a lot of insight and recommendations on what fixes or additions can be made to make the home safer. There may be modifications, including a stair climber, a shower chair, wider halls and/or doorways, door hinges, and many more.
Home safety also means getting rid of things that increase an older adult’s risk of slipping and falling. If your aging loved one has a habit of wandering, it is best to throw away rugs, low furniture, loose carpeting, and basically anything that may affect their balance. You can also help them keep astride by installing some railing and nonskid treads.
List Emergency Numbers
They’re called emergency numbers for a reason, and it is always a good idea to put it on a list somewhere everybody can see. It is better to be safe than sorry, so even if 911 is a known number, still list it down for the benefit of someone who may be frightened, panicked, or worried. Other numbers to keep in handy are the local poison control center, the fire department, the doctor’s office, and a family member or friend you can call for help.
Provide Sufficient Lighting
Seniors with bad eyesight increase their risk of falling and other accidents especially at night. When you care for an elderly at home, it is recommended to provide more lighting for their benefit.
Entryways and stairs should be well lit, and you can also add glow-in-the-dark light switches for their convenience. You can also consider installing motion-sensor lighting for your loved ones as well. When areas are well-lit, it will also be easy to tell if there are obstructions and other objects lying around, so you can remove those right away.
Inspect the Bathroom
Bathrooms are easily one of the most hazardous places for an aging senior because of the risk of slipping and falling on the wet floor. Additionally, most injuries happen while bathing in the tub or showering and a lot of times when using the toilet. Consider installing grab bars in areas such as inside and outside the shower, near the tub, and near the toilet.
Nonslip rubber mats should also be placed in areas where there is a lot of water, such as in front of the sink and in and out of the shower. If you have a tub, make sure to put a nonslip bottom especially if you need the shower overhead to bathe. Another thing to consider is making the cold and hot faucets more visible by color-coding them respectively.
If you think that your bathroom has too many risks to be used by a high-fall-risk senior, consider making a new one just for them. It is better to have a room fitted for their needs for their safety. Installing a shower is easy enough, and an upflush or macerating toilet only needs an existing plumbing so you won’t need to tear down your current flooring or home installation, and you can use the toilet right away. If you’re considering this option, you can take a look at Saniflo toilet installations and see if it works for you.
Have Access to Doors at All Times
Seniors, especially those with conditions like arthritis, have a hard time opening doorknobs and even windows. Consider getting new hardware for areas in the house they frequent. A lever-style door is easier for them as they don’t need to grip to be able to enter a room. You can opt to have automatic or swivel doors as well.
If your house is not entirely fitted with easier doors mentioned above, there may be times that your loved ones may need to go to a room they don’t usually go to. In case they lock themselves in, especially for those with dementia, it is a good idea to have a master key and even tools for lockpicking so you can easily get them out in case a key is nowhere to be found. If you’re caring for the elderly, there’s no such thing as overpreparation.
At-Home Safety Devices
There are gadgets and products that are specifically made for the welfare of the elderly. Things like health and activity monitors will let you know how they are doing anytime. There are automatic pill dispensers that will have them take their meds on time and safely.
While it is important to keep the inside of your home safe for them, it is equally vital to protect them from the outside forces as well. A home monitoring system will help ease your worries especially if you’re temporarily leaving your aging loved ones with a caregiver while you are away at work. Motion-sensor lighting at the outside of your home can be a deterrent to potential break-ins and serve as illumination for when it is dark out as well.
What home safety tips for the elderly have worked for you? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.