Five Ways to Help Seniors Stay Safe at Home
As our loved ones age, it becomes much easier to worry about them being independent. Without proper support or preventative action, their physical injuries and cognitive decline can become life-threatening. Here are five ways to keep the senior(s) in your life safe at home:
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), falls were responsible for 34,000 deaths among those 65 and older in 2019. These circumstances are usually easy to prevent, and there are a few things you can do to reduce the chance your loved one will suffer injuries from a fall.
Reaching for items that are too far away is one way that falls can happen, especially if it is something up high on a shelf. To eliminate this problem, go through the house and make everything accessible and at a reasonable height for them.
Another strategy is to install some non-slip strips around the front door area as well as on any stairs in the house where an area might be steep or slippery. If they have a deck that they use frequently, it may also be beneficial to install strips there. Along the same lines, placing a rubber mat in the shower will give them much more stability in an area of the house many elders might fear.
Upgrade Your Home
In most cases, seniors have been living in the same house for decades, and the layout and features of the house may have become less convenient or safe with age. A house with stairs may have been great for someone more youthful, but it becomes a hazard later in life.
Consider modifying a senior’s home with a stairlift to help them stay safe and as independent as possible. Installing an elevator is also an option if they have the space and the finances for it, as it can be quite expensive. A stairlift is definitely a less expensive option, but if your loved one is really in need, you can talk to them about getting either one installed.
If an assistance device installation is crucial to maintain safety, deciding which option is most suitable will include several considerations. Depending on a loved one’s financial situation, selling unused furniture or vehicles could help fund this kind of upgrade for their safety. If they still have a home mortgage, learning how to refinance a house could save them money in the long run, especially if the property is staying within the family. If they have a second house or property, consider selling or renting it out as a way to support any costly house modifications.
To help prevent falls, other options can be looked at as well. Smaller more affordable house upgrades might include placing grab bars in bathroom showers and next to toilets. These can be installed in other rooms around the house if necessary, and may help to make some of the more fall-prone areas safer. You will also want to make sure that stair railings are secure and rugs do not slide around. If railings are loose, it can be affordable to fix existing railings by tightening, reenforcing them. If this does not do the job, replacing it with a new railing may be the best solution. For rug concerns, you can attach slip-proof material under rugs to prevent sliding, place heavier furniture on top of or better yet, remove the rug entirely so as to minimize a slip or trip hazard.
Consider At-Home Care
In addition to making home upgrades, it may be time for your loved one to get help outside of the family for daily care. Companies like To The Rescue Home Health provide services staffed by a team of licensed and skilled nursing professionals. Their experienced nursing staff can help with wound care, pain management, medication setup, and more. Home Health also provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy, including services like home safety assessments, instructions on fall prevention, and maximizing the patient’s independence at home.
To The Rescue’s Home health Aides will take care of daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and personal care to help support the safety of your loved one at home. Care plans are highly customizable to specifically address your loved one’s needs.
A common pitfall for elders is to unknowingly give out personal information or money as a result of online scams. If you are in charge of their finances, keep a watchful eye out for potential dangers. However, if they still maintain any financial control, having a conversation with them about scams could prevent them from losing a large amount of their retirement savings. Let them know that they should never give out any credit card information or donate to anyone over the phone or via email. Have them ask you for help if they get any unsolicited requests.
Visit Them Often
Lastly, it is important for you to stay in touch with your loved ones as they age. Check around the house for anything that could pose a danger. Make sure all the fire alarms have full batteries and that carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. If any repair work is needed, volunteer to do it yourself, or schedule a repairman to come fix it. Just visiting them will keep their spirits up, so make sure to go often, or at the very least, give them a call.