Do you have an elderly loved one who prefers to stay in their own home? While this is perfectly understandable, successful aging in place requires careful planning and consideration.
Aging in Place: What Are the Main Safety Concerns?
Older people are especially prone to falls. It might be a good idea to obtain a falls risk assessment from your loved one’s health provider. Also, find out if your loved one would benefit from an exercise program aimed at averting falls. Here are some additional tips to help prevent falls.
- Banish area rugs and ensure all carpets are securely fixed to the floor, especially around the edges.
- Place non-skid mats or no-slip strips on surfaces liable to get wet and slippery. It’s also a good idea to have your loved one wear non-slip footwear.
- Teach your senior to keep objects such as books or shoes away from where they regularly walk around their home.
- Consider installing a ramp complete with handrails up to the front door.
- Make sure all hallways, stairs, and outdoor paths are well lit. Install night lights in the bedroom, upstairs hallway, and bathroom.
- Install grab bars in the tub or shower and adjacent to toilets. You may need to get a special tub bench or chair and/or a raised toilet seat.
- If your loved one is prone to falls, encourage them to wear an emergency bracelet or necklace that can be activated if they fall and can’t get to a phone. These devices include a push-button that will automatically call emergency services.
What Other Hazards Affect the Elderly?
Other accidents may involve burns and poisonings. Also, seniors living alone may become targets for criminals. The following are some more tips to help your loved one age in place and maintain their independence.
- The water heater thermostat should be no higher than 120° F to prevent scalding.
- In case of a fire, make sure your senior is totally familiar with at least two ways to safely exit their home.
- Replace any fraying or damaged electrical cords. Also, ensure that too many electric cords aren’t plugged into one extension cord or socket.
- Make sure heaters are at least three feet away from anything flammable. Get your loved one to practice turning off space heaters when they leave the room. Install smoke detectors and check for battery replacement twice a year.
- Encourage your senior not to wear long-sleeved loose clothing while cooking.
- Instruct your loved one never to heat their home with the stove, oven, or grill as these can give off deadly carbon monoxide that cannot be seen or smelled. Place a carbon monoxide detector close to the bedroom and test the battery twice a year.
- To prevent mix-ups, keep all medications in their original containers. Affix large-print labels to the containers for easier reading.
- Make sure your senior understands never to accept offers from telephone salespeople or share personal information with anyone they don’t know. And stress that they should never let a stranger into their home.
- Make sure your loved one has emergency numbers handy, including:
– A contact (family member or friend) to call in case of emergency.
– Healthcare provider’s office.
– Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
Aging in Place: Final Thoughts
A few changes will make your senior loved one’s home safer and give you more peace of mind. Being a caretaker is a time-consuming task, so if you live in the Columbia, SC area, Caring Healthcare can help you out with the very best in-home care. Give us a shout-out today for more information.