Blog written by Guardline.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four Americans over 65 years experience a fall annually. While the number of older adults living alone continues to increase, it is essential to ensure the elderly population remains safe at home. In addition, older adults living alone may become victims of criminals targeting more senior people.
From a safety alarm for elderly, to preventing risks like poisoning and dire dangers, there are several ways to provide safety for older adults at home. This ensures that you avoid cases of falls, poisoning, burns, and other common accidents involving more senior people. With that, this post provides excellent insights into home safety tips for elderly, helping older adults to live unassisted in the home they cherish.
What Are Safety Concerns for Older Adults?
Older adults experience various potential hazards at home where some dangers may result in serious injuries or even death. Therefore, checking your senior loved one's safety plan is critical because multiple safety concerns may arise once they become old. To begin with, consider quick home safety questions for seniors to help determine ways to avert safety issues that may occur.
Besides, you can observe the daily routines of your seniors, focusing on where they walk, tasks they undertake, and determining if they need assistance. This helps pinpoint particular safety concerns likely to pose dangers to them. While older adults face multiple risks, here are some common safety concerns for older adults:
- Slip and falls
- Electric shock
- Medicine and accidental poisoning
- Improper lighting
- Inability to navigate stairs
- Burns or cuts
How Do You Protect Your Parents from Aging at Home?
The AARP reports that nearly 77 percent of older adults want to live in their current home and community while aging. However, since it can be challenging to protect them and provide a safe home, several ways exist to help them age in place. Hence, it is essential to prepare and plan, as well as support aging parents within the home, to achieve peace of mind and offer them a safe and comfortable place to live.
Learn to Speak to Your Parents About Aging
It is essential to start talking to your parents about planning care once they age. This helps prepare adequately and ensure your parents are safe when aging at home. However, your parent's needs and wishes should be a priority. For instance, if they request total privacy during their old age, provide a living environment that meets their needs.
Address Safety Concerns
Falls, burns, and poisoning are among the leading safety concerns for older adults. Therefore, addressing how your parents will adapt to prevent these issues is crucial. With falls being the top safety concern for seniors causing fatal and nonfatal injuries, consider simple and effective ways to avoid such risks.
Prepare for Emergencies
To protect your parents from aging at home, have a plan for emergencies such as flooding, inability to access medical care, and earthquakes. The intent is to make sure your parents gain access to their basic needs during such emergencies, avoiding costly and unforeseen issues. For instance, you can talk to your parents regarding the location of critical documents, including how to contact you after an accident.
Meet the Need for Companionship
Older adults are often at risk of loneliness and associated health conditions like inflammation, lower brain function, and chronic illness. Therefore, ensure you talk to your parents, letting them connect with others on a regular basis. If you might not be available, ensure you determine ways to talk with them, such as talking to them through phone calls.
Support Your Parents in Staying Active
Most parents desire to remain physically fit and mobile when aging. Therefore, including regular exercise helps your aging parents maintain the strength that promotes fall safety for elderly and improves recovery time when injured or ill. Talking to them about ways to enjoy being active is essential, especially when looking to treat depression, prevent dementia, and avert mental decline.
Home Safety Tips for Elderly: Elderly Home Safety Checklist
Elderly home safety is important since seniors have a higher chance of falling down at home. Dementia, poor eyesight, hearing problems, and medication side effects are among factors that can make older adults trip and fall anywhere at home. To help them stay safe, here is an elderly home safety checklist that helps prevent accidents.
Remove Fall Hazards
While falling is a leading cause of injuries to seniors, making the home fall-safe by reducing fall risks and encouraging home safety is crucial. You can achieve this by engaging in the following:
- Remove throw rugs because they lack rubberized backing for improved grip on the floor.
- Clean piled clutter such as loose clothes and newspapers
- Throw away or donate old furniture
- Establish a more open environment like creating a 32-inch doorway
- Ensure your parents wear non-slip footwear when indoors
- Avoid stretching extension cords across the floor
Protect Against Fires
Checking electrical cords of appliances and lamps, removing candles, changing batteries for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are practical ways to avert potential fires and promote elderly safety at home. Generally, older people are more susceptible to house fires since they are less likely to keep up with batteries and detect fires. Therefore, protecting against such fires helps ensure older adults live safely and free from fire hazards.
Keep Emergency Numbers Handy
Although you might take various precautions to ensure older adults are safe at home, emergencies may occur. Having a list of emergency contacts on different phones is crucial, especially when accessing emergency services. Besides, you can write emergency numbers on large papers, ensuring they are visible and easily accessed when needed. Poison control, police, emergency family or friend contacts, and health providers' offer numbers are some contacts to have.
Assess the Bedroom
Although the bedroom may seem a safe place for older adults, it can accompany various potential risks. Several elements within the bedroom may pose risks to seniors, hence the need for a thorough assessment to avert such dangers. Installing telescoping grab bars, replacing the round bedroom doorknob with a single-lever, and replacing sagging mattresses with a firmer one helps provide a safer bedroom for older adults. However, it is essential to avoid fitting unnecessary features that would make them uncomfortable.
Create A Safe Kitchen
The kitchen has a set of risks, ranging from burns to slips and other associated injuries, primarily in older people. Nonetheless, there are several ways to minimize risks in the kitchen, including wearing appropriate clothing, using oven gloves when removing hot foodstuffs from the oven or microwave, and wearing sensible shoes. This helps keep older adults safe while in the kitchen, especially when cooking their favorite foods.
Cleaning products, carbon monoxide, and overdose of medication are potential risks of poisoning among older adults at home. For instance, heating the home using a grill or stove can increase the risk of carbon monoxide. Therefore, installing carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and testing and replacing batteries helps alleviate such safety concerns.
Besides, ensure each medication is in its correct container, the containers are well-labeled, and stored in the right location. This helps prevent older adults from poisoning associated with overdose or taking wrong prescriptions. Cleaning products are also poisonous, mainly when mixed and produce deadly gases.
Protect Against Abuse
Criminals may target older adults because they are less likely to defend themselves. Therefore, ensure the home is well-equipped for complete home safety against criminals and other elder abuse. For instance, ensure windows and doors remain locked, seniors never share personal information with strangers or allow strangers into the homes. The intent is to prevent criminal activities and abuse cases for older adults living in the home.
Bathroom Safety for Elderly
While falls are the foremost cause of injuries to older adults, the bathroom poses multiple risks that may result in a fall or scalding. When providing a safe living environment for older adults, bathroom safety for elderly should be prioritized. To ensure older adults remain safe while in the bathroom, do the following:
- Fit grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet
- Use nonskid mats or strips on the standing area of the shower or tub
- Replace bar soap with liquid soap or consider soaps on a string, making them easier to pick
- Invest in a water-resistant shower seat if the senior struggles to stand
- Install a water-resistant pendant button for a personal alarm
- Have non-slip wax floors
- Modify the shower from step-over entry to walk-in entry
How Can the Elderly Prevent Falls in The Home?
Falls can cause various injuries to the elderly; hip fractures, head injuries, neck injuries, and broken bones. Luckily, the elderly can prevent these falls and avoid such injuries by staying safe at home. That said, here are ways older adults can prevent falls in the home:
- Discuss their current health conditions
- Conduct a walk-through safety evaluation of the home
- Talk about their medications and associated side effects
- Remove or repair tripping hazards like slippery throw rugs
- Use grab bars and handrails to help step in and out of the bathtub or walk down the stairs
- Avoid wearing loose clothing
- Wear non-slippery shoes while indoors
- Move around the home more carefully
Older adults suffer various potential risks at home that may result in serious injuries. The above expert home safety tips help seniors live safely and avoid home-related dangers. For more information regarding fall safety for elderly people and other home safety precautions, contact us at Guardline to learn more today!
Contributing Writer: Yohannes Alemayehu