Safety in the home for elderly is a concern for many people around the world. Many seniors prefer to live at home as long as possible as opposed to an assisted living center, or nursing home facility.
Living at home is comfortable, and gives seniors independence. Living at home is also the best option financially, as most seniors are on a fixed budget. Fees for assisted living, and nursing home centers can range anywhere from $30,000 to $70,000 per year.
For most seniors, living at home is the best option. However, living at home also has many risks as seniors age. Safety in the home for elderly can prevent unnecessary accidents, and eliminate stress associated with safety concerns.
Steps to a safer home for elderly:
- Fire Safety – Make sure there are clear escape routes, and smoke alarms on every floor outside of bedrooms. Check batteries in smoke detectors regularly.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector with an alarm
- Keep the exterior well-lit, especially sidewalks, paths, porches, and driveways.
- Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen easy to access
- Cover any exposed hot water pipes
- Prepare an emergency escape plan in case of emergencies, such as fire, earthquake, tornado, etc.
- Keep emergency plan, and phone numbers visible
- Remove hazards around the house, such as throw rugs, cords, raised carpet, etc.
- Place nightlights around the house in hallways, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.
- Make sure stairway handrails are sturdy
- Install grab handles in the bathroom, and other necessary areas in the house
- Use non-skid mats in the bathroom around the sink, toilet, and shower
- Use shower chairs, seating, benches, etc.
- Upgrade to a walk in shower, bathtub, or combination
- Install a garage door code so relatives have easier access in case of emergency
- Use a medical alert system
- Keep water heater temperature below 120 degrees to avoid scalding hot water burns
- Put non-slip grips on the bottom of canes/walkers
Schedule regular doctor's appointments, and ask your physician about safety features that may benefit you according to your health, and medical conditions. The most common in-home accidents for elderly are slips, and falls. Pay special attention to carpet, rugs, tile, linoleum, garage floors, and other surfaces that may cause slips, and falls. Another common reason elderly fall are improper shoes. Flat soled shoes are recommended.
There are many accident prevention precautions you can take to senior-proof a home. Be aware of your surroundings, and use common sense. If it looks like a potential hazard, it probably is a hazard. Communication should be your first priority. Any accident can happen at any point in time. We can easily eliminate the severity of accidents by having quick, and efficient lines of communication via telephone, mobile phone, intercoms, and medical alert devices.