Survey after survey shows that most seniors would prefer to remain in their own homes as they age, rather than go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. Changes in longevity and the availability of medical care and skilled nursing services have allowed many seniors to stay at home, but for others safety concerns may make staying in their own homes more problematic.
If a senior loved one is still living at home, you may be worried about their safety. Falls are a common source of injury for senior citizens, and the result of an accidental fall can be quite serious. Bones take longer to heal as we get older, and even a minor break could mean months of recuperation and painful physical therapy.
They Won’t Enjoy their Trip
Removing tripping hazards around the home can greatly reduce the risk of injury, so take a few minutes to look around your loved one’s home. Are there extension cords snaking over the carpet? Is there clutter? Removing these hazards could prevent a fall – and maybe even a trip to the emergency room.
Safety is no less important if your senior loved one is living in your home instead of theirs. Before you bring a senior loved one into your home, you should take an inventory of the property and look for ways to make it safer. There are plenty of safety devices you can use to make your home safer and keep your loved one out of harm’s way.
Known Problem Areas
Bathroom safety is an especially serious consideration for seniors and the people who love them. If you have a senior loved one living with you in your home, outfitting the bathroom with a few simple safety devices can make a world of difference and keep that senior – and your other family members – safe.
One of the simplest ways to enhance the safety of your home is to install sturdy chairs in the bathroom. Adding a safety stool to the bathtub and shower enclosure or incorporating a lift chair into the living room can improve the comfort, safety and quality of life of your senior loved one.
The bathroom is not the only potentially dangerous part of your home. It is important to look at all the rooms in your home and check for tripping hazards and other dangers that could befall your loved one. Something as simple as tacking down or removing throw rugs can make your living room safer for senior. Adding nightlights to the bedroom and hallways can make navigating the home at night safer for your senior loved one.
Extra Attention around Stairs and Steps
If your home includes a staircase, make sure the handrails are high quality and securely fastened. You may not give those handrails a second thought, but the older folks in your home will probably rely on them heavily. Check the condition of the handrails and replace them if necessary.
Mobility is an important consideration for senior citizens as well. If your senior loved one uses a walker or cane to get around, make sure that stability device has rubber tips on the bottom. Those rubber tips will provide better grip and reduce the risk of falls, especially on hardwood floors.
In the end, keeping your loved one safe is your responsibility. Whether the senior citizen in your life is still living at home or has moved in with you, there are things you can do to enhance safety, reduce the risk of falls and make life better for everyone.
Linda Harvard has nursing experience and has already used this experience to help arrange a safe environment for her own parents. She likes to share her insights and ideas online and is a frequent writer for a number of relevant websites.