Important Home Safety Tips for Seniors
It’s not surprising that most seniors say they would prefer to remain in their own homes as they grow older. While those familiar surrounding are comforting, they may not provide adequate safety. Changes that are part of the normal aging process, such as declining vision, hearing, sense of touch or smell, and bone density can increase the risk of injury.
A 2017 survey conducted by HomeInstead.org revealed that an astonishing 85% of seniors had done nothing to enhance their homes with additional safety measures. Given that the risk of falling increases with age, and two-thirds of seniors who experience a fall will do so again within six months, extra protection in the home environment is a necessity. If you have an aging parent or loved one who lives alone, you’re wise to be concerned about safeguarding their safety and security. Read on for some valuable home safety tips that can give you and your aging loved one peace of mind.
Offer ample seating opportunities. A bench at the front door can be extremely helpful for seniors to catch their breath when they come in from outside or to put on their shoes. A tall counter stool is also a great addition to the kitchen for seniors who enjoy cooking but are unable to stand for long periods of time.
Remove slipping and tripping hazards. Area rugs have a tendency to bunch up or curl at the corners, making it easy to cause a fall. Clutter, pets and electrical cords are other common tripping hazards found in many homes. The use of proper footwear is also incredibly important. Encourage your loved one to wear well-fitting shoes with very low heels and sturdy, non-slip soles.
Recognize the dangers of the bathroom. At any age, the bathroom is a hazardous place, given its numerous hard, slippery surfaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a quarter of a million adults visit emergency rooms each year because of injuries suffered in the bathroom. Seniors in particular are vulnerable to injury near the toilet: over half of the injuries sustained by people over the age of 85 occur in this area of the bathroom. Consider making your loved one’s bathroom more safe and accessible by:
- Installing grab bars inside and outside of the shower stall and on either side of the toilet
- Placing non-slip rubber mats in treacherous areas, such as in front of the sink and inside and outside of the shower
- Placing a stool to sit on during grooming routines
- Retrofitting the current bathtub area with a walk-in tub or shower
Improve fire safety. In the United States, people over age 65 have a fire death rate that’s nearly twice the national average. For senior citizens age 75 and older, the death rate is three times higher. Install smoke detectors and place a fire extinguisher on every floor of your loved one’s home. Smoke detectors should also be installed in each bedroom and in the hall outside of sleeping areas. It’s important to have a working carbon monoxide detector, as well. Be sure to check both types of detectors regularly and replace their batteries as needed.
Provide additional lighting. Seniors who have difficulty seeing are at an increased risk of trips, falls and other accidents. Ensure areas around entryways, hallways and stairs are well lit, and add more lights or brighter bulbs if needed. Glow-in-the-dark switches and motion-sensor lighting remove the struggle to locate light switches in the dark.
Subscribe to a medical alert system. These companies provide small, wearable devices your elderly loved one can use to call for help in the event of a fall, accident or other emergency.
At Vaughn Green Funeral Services, we always have your family’s best interests at heart. Should you need additional information about how senior safety at home, we’re happy to assist. Please contact our compassionate funeral directors any time.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 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 one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.