Senior Home Safety: Seven Essential Things to Know
Today, one in six Americans is age 65 or older. By the year 2050, the U.S. senior population is expected to rise from 48 million to an astonishing 88 million. Worldwide, those aged 80 and above are expected to triple from 126.5 million to 446.6 million. The growth of this demographic is remarkable, but it also presents some concerns.
Many people who reach this stage of life face mental and physical challenges. Everyday tasks often become trying and even hazardous. Doing everything necessary to create a safer home environment for our aging loved ones is of greater importance than ever before. While no living space can be made 100% injury-proof, taking preventive measures can greatly improve its safety.
Read on for seven home safety tips to give you and your elderly loved ones greater peace of mind.
Focus on fall-proofing.
Falls, trips, and slips often threaten the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent. Place handrails and grab bars in frequently-used rooms, such as the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. If there are stairs in the house, install banisters on both sides for added security. Remove any clutter from the floors and steps to reduce the chance of tripping. Get rid of any throw rugs or rugs that don’t lie flat, secure all loose carpets, and install non-slip mats throughout the house.
Keep things accessible.
Climbing to get to items in high or hard-to-reach places is a common cause of falls. Store your loved one’s most-used items so that they are handy and easy to grasp. Round knobs on doors and cabinets are often challenging for those with arthritis and declining strength. Swap them out for lever-style knobs to improve accessibility.
Take fire safety seriously.
In the U.S., seniors have a fire death rate that’s nearly three times the national average. Place a fire extinguisher on every floor and install smoke detectors throughout the home, including one in each bedroom. Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer, so it’s important to have a working detector for it, as well.
Provide plenty of lighting.
Vision declines with age and dimly lit spaces are particularly hard to navigate. Use bulbs that are the maximum allowable wattage in light fixtures and install additional lamps, if necessary. Place nightlights with dusk-to-dawn auto-sensors in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways.
Develop a system for medications.
Most seniors take prescription drugs and they often take multiple doses a day. A clear system must be in place for marking and dispensing medications to avoid missed doses or overdoses. A compartmentalized pill box that contains morning, afternoon, and evening doses for each day of the week is one good way to sort and identify medications. An automatic dispenser is even better, as it virtually eliminates potential medication mistakes.
Subscribe to a medical alert provider.
Alert systems are among the most popular methods of monitoring senior safety at home and providing assistance in the event of a health crisis or emergency. Small wearable devices immediately connect seniors to certified operators who instantly deploy emergency personnel to the residence.
Check in frequently.
Reaching out to your aging parent or relative and making regular visits can ensure their safety and put your mind at ease. If you can’t visit in person, daily phone calls or Facetime chats can alert you to any issues that need attention.
We hope you found this senior home safety information helpful. If you have questions or require additional assistance, our knowledgeable staff is here for you. Please contact us anytime.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.