It’s important for everyone to be safe in their home. As children, we learn the importance of having a plan in case of fire or disaster. Sometimes everyday life for seniors needs a little planning too. What may seem easy to you, may not be so easy for a senior citizen. Here are some tips for safety for seniors at home.
- Lighting – Make sure that all areas of the home are well-lit without causing glare. Dark hallways and stairways can be dangerous. Don’t forget the nightlights. Having nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, hallways, and kitchen will help with nighttime trips when you don’t want to turn on a bright light.
- Rugs – Often, without realizing it, the seniors will shuffle a bit more as they walk. For this reason, it is a good idea to remove any throw rugs. If they insist on having their rugs, then you should at least attach nonskid backing to them to reduce the risk of falling.
- Flooring – While it’s a good idea to get rid of throw rugs, you should also make sure that the floor isn’t too slippery. The floors should not be polished with any gloss polish.
- Kitchen – Make sure to keep the stove top clear of anything that might catch fire. This includes things such as paper towels, dishtowels, curtains, even burner covers can be a hazard if you forget they’re there.
- Fire extinguisher – A fire extinguisher is a must-have safety feature for every home. Be sure that you have one handy in your kitchen and that everyone knows how to operate it.
- Electrical cords – Electrical cords should regularly be inspected for cracking or fraying. Cords should never be strung across a walkway where they can trip someone up. Cords could also pose a fire hazard if they are placed under carpets or furniture. Be sure not to overload extension cords. You should also use the correct outlet for each plug. If the plug is a three-pronged plug, then it should go into a three-hole outlet or adapter.
- Bathroom – The water heater should be set at 115 degrees or lower. Grab bars should be properly installed in both the shower and beside the toilet, with the screws going directly into the studs. Non-skid mats or decals in the tub or shower are also a good idea.
- Stairs – If the senior’s home has stair, it is difficult to totally eliminate the fall risk factor, but there are some things you can consider doing. If possible, designate a downstairs room as the senior’s bedroom to reduce the necessity of using the stairs. Ensure there is hand railing and adequate lighting available. Replace any high fiber carpet known to be slippery with a tightly woven carpet with short fibers on the steps. Add “backs” to open back stairs. Consider adding a stair lift if mobility is an issue.
- Telephone – There should be a telephone beside the bed and by the chair where you usually sit. Emergency numbers should be posted by each phone. Use our downloadable form to list important emergency information that should be kept by the phone for EMTs in case of an emergency.
- Smoke detectors – Each floor of the home should have a smoke detector.
- Heaters – If you are using space heaters, you need to make sure that they are well away from any flammable materials and that the room has proper ventilation.
- Heating pads – Heating pads can feel great on sore muscles, but they should be turned off before you go to sleep to avoid burns.
- Medication – Medication should be kept up to date. Anything that you are no longer taking or medication that is expired should be properly disposed of.
There may be a few modifications or updates that need to be done to ensure safety for seniors at home. If you need help financing these upgrades, consider a reverse mortgage. Safety for seniors at home is important and with a little thought and planning, it is achievable.
And, having a personal emergency alert monitoring service can help provide aid quickly should the senior need it.
Would you like suggestions of how your home can be safer? Contact us for a free in-home assessment.