Safety Tips for Your Aging Loved One's Home
As more and more seniors choose to age in place, it's never been more critical to be aware of the potential dangers to your loved ones that lurk in their own homes. With these tips in mind, you can prevent accidental falls, injuries, and deaths by using them to help you modify any unsafe areas in your loved one's home.
Even if you can't implement everything on this list, the one thing you should always have in the house is a PERS device. Personal Emergency Response Systems allow your loved one to call you, a friend, a neighbor or 911 in the event of a fall, accident, or another emergency. These devices are worn or carried on your loved one's person at all times or mounted in high-risk areas of the home to allow your loved one to call for help in an emergency. FreedomAlert is an excellent choice that offers two-way voice directly through the pendant and can be programmed to call several phone numbers and 911.
Remove or securely fasten rugs to the floor. Rugs are a huge trip hazard.
Secure cables and cords and tuck them behind furniture, away from foot traffic.
Avoid using slippery wax on the floors.
Clean up all spills promptly.
Make sure lighting is bright and clear throughout the home. Try to use non-glare 100 watt or greater incandescent bulbs only.
Stairs and Steps
Staircases are a huge trip hazard and cause a drastic number of falls in the home every single day. To prevent staircase accidents, follow these tips
Install handrails near all staircases, interior, and exterior.
Staircases should have a non-skid surface on the steps.
Staircases should have a light switch at the top and the bottom and good, bright lighting.
If your lighting is poor or you can't modify the staircase, a stairlift is a great option.
Lots of dangers lurk in the kitchen. It's important to make sure that your loved ones are eating safe, unexpired food and that their kitchen is clear of clutter. Everything should also be well-lit and easy to access.
Keep a fire extinguisher and a fire alarm in the kitchen.
Keep the kitchen area clean and free of clutter.
Store heavier items at hip or waist height, so it's easier for your loved one to access.
Check their food for expiration dates and rotate food regularly.
Hazardous items should be stored away from food items, such as in a garage or separate closet.
Use appliances that shut off automatically to prevent fires
Use a knife rack to store sharp knives since they are easier to access and less likely to cause a cut than in a drawer.
Mark ON and OFF clearly on appliances and stoves
The bathroom is one of the most common areas in the home for accidents to occur. Between slippery surfaces and difficulty getting around, the bathroom can be a place of disaster if not adequately prepared.
Install shower bars and handles in the tub and near the toilet to assist your loved one getting in and out of the bathtub (or off of the toilet) if you can't always be there to help them.
Make the tub slip-proof by coating it or by placing a non-skid mat at the bottom.
Turn the water temperature down to 120 degrees to prevent burns.
Make sure hot and cold water taps are marked clearly.
Use door locks that can be unlocked from both sides so that help can get to your loved one in the event of an emergency.
Tips for your loved ones
Always get up from bed or a chair slowly. Take your time and ensure your balance.
Wear non-skid shoes with no heels, like sneakers, around the house to prevent falls
Never smoke if you are alone or in a flammable area, like your bed or living room.
Make sure your cane or walker is correctly sized to suit you.
Review your medications regularly, but especially if you feel dizzy.
Get your vision checked regularly, and if possible, switch to contacts instead of glasses.
Avoid standing on ladders or chairs.
Leave a light on in the bathroom at night or use nightlights to help avoid accidents.
Carry your PERS device. It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Engage in a light exercise like walking or swimming 3-5 days each week to help your joints and improve your balance to help you prevent having an accident