With the advances in medical care, people are living longer than ever before. Rather than going to an assisted living facility, many elderly members of society prefer to remain at home. As the baby boomers join the ranks of senior citizens, the need for home safety measures is on the rise.
While a caregiver may visit regularly to perform certain tasks, it is vital that someone close go through the entire home to upgrade where necessary. By employing these safety tips, the elderly person is less likely to become seriously injured.
Children, caregivers and other visitors should be on the lookout for cognitive decline. Most people do not like to admit that their memory is failing. However, with an early diagnosis, the decline associated with dementia and related cognitive troubles can be slowed down.
Even if an elderly person is not experiencing mental challenges, the body is a different matter. Senior citizens are more likely to suffer an injury from a simple fall than their younger counterparts. Reducing tripping hazards is one of the most important aspects of making the dwelling safe.
Throw rugs throughout the home should be removed. Although products on the market can hold them still, even a little curl on the edge can create a tripping zone. Additionally, the electrical and phone cords should be moved out of the way. Safety strips that adhere to the wall or floor can secure the cords in place while still leaving the ends accessible.
Additionally, the kitchen and bathroom faucets should be switched out for lever handles. New doorknobs that are easy to open are also an inexpensive but beneficial upgrade to the home. These are easier for weak, arthritic hands to use.
When the budget permits, a new toilet that sits higher than traditional models creates less difficulty for seniors. Medical supply shops also have portable seats which can be positioned above the seat for significantly less money.
Showers are a common place for seniors to fall. A curbless shower is significantly simpler to step in and out of. Also, non-slip bottoms lessen the chance of slipping.
The hot water heater should be set to 120 degrees or lower to prevent scalding and inside knobs should be changed out for ones that can be unlocked from the outside or that do not lock at all.
In order to keep the home safe, it must be cleaned regularly. Nothing should be left sitting on the floor and food should be thrown away promptly once inedible. Pantry and refrigerator items should be rotated and checked for expiration dates at least once per month.
Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers should be located in several places throughout the home. The elderly person should be instructed in use at the start of each season, when the batteries are checked on the detector.
Those who use walking aids, such as a cane or walker, should have it professionally measured to be sure it is at the proper height. Even a couple of inches difference can make it more challenging for a senior citizen to navigate.
The house should be well lit throughout, with light bulbs bright enough to illuminate the entire room. Also, the switches should be easy to locate and use for each room. The flatter style of switches are usually easier than the smaller ones traditionally used in homes.
When caring for an elderly person, it is important to treat them with respect and dignity. These precautions will make the home safer and more comfortable so that they can continue to enjoy it!
Jeff Wise is a health care professional who specializes in senior care. If you are looking for premium in-home care for your loved one, visit MiamiHomeCareServices.com today.
If you are looking for additional information on making your home safe, see Staying Home: A Caregiver’s Guide to Making Your House Alzheimer’s Safe.