With aging can come the loss of ability to perform everyday activities like your loved one used to. However, this doesn’t mean that the senior in your life can’t live independently — you just need to make sure their homes are safe.
Here are some home safety tips to ensure peace of mind for both you and your loved one.
1. Reduce the Risk of Falling
You might already be aware that falls are the number one cause of injury for seniors — which is why fall prevention is necessary. You can start by making sure any piles of clutter are cleaned up, removing throw rugs and extension cords that stretch across the floor, and provide your loved one with non-slip footwear.
2. Have Emergency Numbers Handy
Make sure that a list of emergency numbers is by each phone in the house, written in large print so that your loved one can quickly read them in case of an accident. Such numbers include 911, Poison Control, an emergency contact, and their healthcare provider’s office.
3. Fire Prevention
Keeping your loved one’s home safe includes protecting them against potential fires. Be sure that the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are changed regularly, and remove all candles to be safe.
Check the electric chords from lamps and other appliances, and replace those that have been frayed or damaged. Remind your loved one of what to do in the result of a fire, including showing them how to “stop, drop, and roll.”
4. Keep the Bathroom Safe
With hard and slippery surfaces, the bathroom can be one of the easiest places for injury. You can take the following precautions to avoid a fall and keep your loved one safe in this area:
• Mount grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet
• Place rubber mats in the bathtub
• Make sure the thermostat on the water heater is set no higher than 120°F
• Replace the original showerhead with a hand-held one
• Put a special bathing chair in the bathtub
• Place a nightlight in the bathroom
5. Check the Lighting
Your loved one’s eyes may not be as sharp as they once were, which is why keeping up with the lighting in his or her home is important. Check for any burnt-out light bulbs, and even replace old fixtures with new ones. Consider installing motion detection lighting both outside and inside of the home, too.
6. Assess the Stairs
Over time, the stairs in your loved one’s home may become a challenge. Stairlifts can be an easy fix, or you may just need to replace a faulty railing. Additionally, be sure to clear the outside stairs of snow and ice in the winter months.
7. Be Mindful of Harmful Products
As your loved one ages, he or she may become confused about things that used to be so common for them — such as medications and household cleaners. Be sure that his or her medications have large-print labels on them, and that they are checking with their healthcare provider regularly to ensure proper consumption.
You’ll also want to place larger labels on cleaning products, so that nothing is accidentally mixed if your loved one still wants to do some household chores.
While this might seem like a lot of information, it’s essential to ensure your loved one’s safety and wellbeing as they age. Try to start with one task at a time, or ask other family members for help. Ultimately, this is to help your loved one maintain independence and remain in the comfort of his or her home for as long as possible.