- Safety in the home should be a top priority if you have an elderly loved one living alone or if yours has recently moved in with you. Keeping them safe and happy will ensure that they live out their golden years in peace – we all know they deserve nothing less.
Keep your home, or theirs, as safe as possible by following these ten tips below:
- Trip Hazards
As you may know, falls are the leading cause of injuries among our older citizens. When renovating your home to accommodate your older relatives, you must reduce their risk of falling. Trip hazards can come in many shapes and sizes, including rugs, clutter, extension cords or electrical cabling.
You need to make sure that your home is tidy and avoid having piles of the clutter lying around. Create an open plan living environment so that your elderly family member doesn’t have to shuffle around pieces of furniture.
- Inspect Your Furniture
Regularly inspect your furniture pieces for hairline cracks or signs of damage. That will keep your older loved ones safe when they’re sitting on them. If you find any wobbly or broken furniture items, these must get replaced or repaired as soon as possible.
When you get older, you lose muscle strength, and your reflexes slow down – this means that you are less able to spring up off a chair if it breaks underneath you. These types of falls often result in terrible bruises and even broken bones.
- Display Emergency Numbers
Keep the emergency numbers on display in large print in your home. These can be printed and added onto memo boards or even stuck onto fridge doors. These are the numbers to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
Numbers to display include their primary care physician, the fire department, the police, and your number. That will help them, or anyone else in the house, call for help if needed. That is a handy tip if you have a housekeeper at home with your parents or grandparents during the day. They must know who to call if something goes wrong.
- Fireproof Your Home
Protect your home against the threat of fire by removing all known fire hazards. Some older people can still cook for themselves, but they are often forgetful. If they leave the stove on and a fire starts, you need to be alerted before it is too late.
Install smoke detectors if you don’t already have them. These alert you to any level of smoke detected, so put them in the kitchen and patio areas. You must ensure that the batteries in the smoke detectors are changed regularly – around once every 2 or 3 months should be fine.
Elderly people do suffer from the cold due to problems that arise when you get older, like circulation issues. Ensure that all spaces heaters get placed away from curtains, bedding, or other flammable items. If you are at work all day, ask your housekeeper or teenage children to keep an eye on them.
Pack away any candles so they are out of sight – these can start a fire, especially if your loved one forgets and leaves them unattended.
- Medical Alert Systems
With the simple press of a button, medical alert systems connect your loved ones to someone who can help in an emergency. Most of these systems are designed to be used and installed in homes, but some systems offer on-the-go security that your older loved ones can wear.
These systems are particularly useful if your elderly or medically vulnerable loved one is alone during the day, or if they live alone. Some of the best medical alert systems have saved countless lives and reduced the suffering of senior citizens who suffer falls. Sometimes, older people who suffer falls can be left in pain for days before they are helped – these systems are designed to prevent that from happening.
- Make The Bathroom Safer
The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, and not just for the elderly! Address safety issues in your bathroom by removing loose towels or mats and opting for the rubberized versions.
Install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet – these will help your loved one to get up and down without needing assistance. In-shower chairs and walk-in bathtubs can be installed if your special older person has mobility issues.
If possible, consider adding a hand shower to the bathtub or a hand-held shower head into the shower – that will minimize the risk of injury by making it easier for your older loved one to use.
- Buy A New Bed
By replacing a soft, sagging mattress with a firmer and more supportive one, you can prevent them from any back, neck, and hip pain. There are so many supportive mattresses on the market these days that are specially designed for older people, these are firmer and higher than standard mattresses.
The extra height helps for getting in and out of bed when your bones and joints are older and aren’t as pain-free as they once were.
- Get A Stairlift
Stairlifts are custom fitted into homes when there are too many stairs for your loved one to navigate daily. If possible, ensure that their room is on the ground floor – that way they can avoid having to use the stairs altogether.
If a downstairs room is not an option, look into installing a lift like this. These lifts can carry heavy weights if necessary and they operate with a battery system so they will not fail during a power outage.
- Security Features
If your loved one is home alone all day, you can install some basic security measures to keep them safe. Apart from the medical alert system mentioned in tip five, there are security installations that you can look into. These include peepholes, motion detectors, CCTV, and doorbell cameras.
- Check-In, Often
The best form of home safety is a regular check-in. Drop by to visit them often if they live alone, alternatively get into the habit of calling or texting them once a day to make sure that they are safe.
That tip is vitally important during summer and winter, these are the seasons with the most extreme temperatures which means the risk of heat stroke or frostbite is significantly increased. These are the most effective ways to keep your older loved one safe and secure.