How do we promote home safety while aging-in-place? For more info in what aging-in-place is, click here. When our loved one chooses to age in place, we want the best for them. This includes home safety to be sure all their needs are met and they have a safe place in which to reside. Because these needs change as we age, there are numerous things we can do to be sure the home is the safest it can be.
Why does home safety change as we age?
As younger adults, we don’t often think about things like fall risks, emergency telephones numbers, doorknobs or bathroom safety. But as we age, these things become more and more important. Understanding of safety risks and being knowledgeable about your loved one’s needs will help you to create the optimum living space for them.
What are the most common safety hazards as we age?
- Falls – Falls are the number one risk factor for a senior who lives at home.
- Fires – Fires are a risk for any home, but may be slightly increased in a senior’s home.
- Poisoning – When there are many medications in the home, the risk of an accidental poisoning may increase.
Best Home Safety Tips
Fall prevention Tips:
- Make sure pathways are clear in the home. This may be in the form of decluttering, or being sure that pathways are wider than they used to be. Clear all furniture to allow for traffic patterns to be unobstructed.
- Light switches are located in all entry and exit doors of each room. If this isn’t the case, be sure there is a flashlight (or well-lit nightlight) available for any evening movement (i.e~ between the bedroom and bathroom) .
- Area rugs are not frayed and are well secured or removed. Be sure that if an area rug is to remain in a space, that its secured with double sided tape or adhesive.
Fire prevention and safety Tips:
Always be sure that smoke detectors function properly and they have fresh batteries. Testing them on a regular basis will help keep your mind at ease. Never let candles burn in an empty room. Better yet, invest in battery operated candles like these. Be sure there aren’t open flames near oxygen tanks and that all appliance and light/lamp cords are in good condition and not frayed.
Poisoning safety Tips:
In standard home safety, it’s a good idea to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in the home. Again, being sure that batteries are kept fresh and the detectors are functioning at all times.
Because seniors can have multiple medications in the home, there is a potential for accidental poisoning. Be sure there is a schedule for medications or a pill organizer is utilized for better management. Click here for more tips on medication management. Always be sure that medications are being taken as instructed by the dispensing physician.
General Home Safety Tips:
Have emergency numbers on one list, in one place, :
- Poison Control – 1-800-222-1222
- Local police department – *For non-emergencies
- Local fire department – *For non-emergencies
- Local hospital
- Health insurance plan and policy number
- Personal emergency contact list
Bathrooms can pose special concerns when it comes to safety. Install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet for easier and safer movement. Be sure the rugs in the bathroom are slip resistant. Skid or slip-resistant adhesive strips should be added to the tub to prevent slips and if needed a shower chair placed in the shower.
Furniture and beds. Higher furniture makes sitting, laying or reclining easier and can prevent falls getting in and out of them. Look for firm, higher seating and have a higher profile bed or mattress in the bedroom. Soft, squishy furniture is more difficult to get out of.
Lighting and communication. Be sure that all spaces in the home are well lit and that a cordless or mobile phone is available, so your loved one never needs to search for the telephone.
BONUS TIP: Swapping out the regular round doorknobs for a lever style, like these will make life easier for the senior in your life.
Ensuring home safety will provide you and your loved ones with valuable piece of mind. Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
*This post is not sponsored, but does contain external links to product examples. Product links are used for example purposes only and these links do not indicate specific product endorsement by CareGivers of America.