Tips to Keep Seniors Safe Around the Home
If you have aging parents or elderly loved ones, you may be concerned about them living alone. A senior’s home should be comfortable and safe to help them maintain their independence. Falls are the most common accidents and cause of injuries in the older population. To help keep seniors safe in the home, reduce the risk of falls.
Safety in the Bathrooms
The bathroom can be especially hazardous for older family members. Install grab bars near the shower and toilet and make a plan to deal with slippery floors.
If you have the budget, install a walk-in tub that is easier for seniors to use. These tubs have a door on the side so you don’t have to step over the bathtub wall. Place a rubber mat on the shower floor to prevent slips and falls. Depending on the individual, a shower chair can make bathing easier and safer.
For an elderly family member, the bed itself should have a firm mattress for more support. Some seniors even use a hospital-style bed that can be adjusted up or down to help them get in and out of the bed. There are also grab bars designed to be installed bedside. You can find styles that reach from the floor to the ceiling and others that attach directly to the bed.
Dressers, closets, and nightstands should be easy for seniors to access. Many seniors have trouble gripping knobs or turning doorknobs. Install handles on doors instead of round knobs. Another option is to replace drawers with shelving that keeps everything within easy reach.
Keep Seniors Safe in the Kitchen
The kitchen is another area that will need attention in order to keep seniors safe. Use lower shelves and under-counter storage to keep things within reach. Make sure older family members don’t have to use a stool to access items in the kitchen.
Install rubber grips on faucet handles. These are usually red and blue to distinguish between hot and cold water. Choose appliances that automatically power themselves off to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
Also, consider placing a rubber mat on the floor under the sink. This will prevent slippery conditions in case water from the sink splashes onto the floor. Just make sure that the mat isn’t so thick that it becomes a tripping hazard.
Keep emergency information written down and next to the telephone. The list of phone numbers should include close family and friends, doctors, and the number to local emergency services.
Make sure your elderly family member has a landline in their home. An older person may forget to charge their cell phone or could misplace it altogether. A landline ensures access to friends and family and emergency assistance, if necessary.
Keep an up-to-date list of medications and a medical history available in case an accident happens. Medical professionals will need to understand current medications in order to safely treat your family member. You can also order personalized pendants and bracelets that include this information.
Common Sense to Keep Seniors Safe At Home
Because houses are different and people have different needs, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to keeping the home safe. Factors like the age of the home and how it has been maintained will impact safety around the property. Grab bars, good lighting, and access to help in case of an emergency are important in any home with elderly family members.