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Home Safety for Seniors—What You Should Know

Read these home safety recommendations for elders to keep your loved ones safe. We go over how to make your home safe and secure from outside dangers.

With an increasing number of older persons living independently, it’s more critical than ever to ensure their safety at home. The most common mishaps involving elderly adults include falls, burns, and poisonings. Seniors who live alone may become victims of crooks who prey on the elderly. Here’s what you should do if you’re an older adult living alone or care for an elderly person who is living alone.

Follow this list to create a safe home for seniors.

Keep Emergency Numbers Handy

Keep a list of emergency phone numbers by each phone. If you are in a rush or are scared, write this information in large enough print that you can readily read it. It is critical that you and your loved ones have emergency contact information readily available in the case of an emergency. Here are a few numbers you should have displayed in your home, on your phone contacts, and memorized:

  • Life-threatening emergencies: 911
  • Local police department
  • Local hospital
  • Family doctor
  • Poison control: 1-800-222-1222
  • State elder abuse hotline

Prevent Falls

Anyone of any age can trip and fall, but for certain senior individuals, falls can be fatal. According to a new study published in The Journal of Trauma, a small ground-level fall is three times more likely to end in mortality for persons aged 70 and up than for the general population. Chronic health concerns such as heart disease and osteoporosis make falls far more perilous for older persons, and any injuries will heal more slowly and have long-term implications.

Though the majority of falls, especially among the elderly, do not result in serious damage, some seniors become so afraid of falling that they refuse to participate in activities they once enjoyed. This can reduce the quality of life and prevent much-needed exercise, therefore it’s critical to provide a safe home environment. While it is impossible to totally eliminate fall risks, doing everything possible to decrease them provides both physical and mental benefits.

Prepare for Natural Disasters and Fires

Natural disasters and fires, which would be disastrous for anybody, can be especially perilous for aging parents and seniors, who have decreased mobility and may not be able to flee a dangerous situation as fast as others. Prior to these incidents, it is critical to have all of the necessary alarms and emergency protocols in place. Communication is especially critical for those who can not drive and may be unable to leave alone.

Prevent Break-ins

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Americans 65 and over are the least likely of any age group to be victims of either violent or property crimes. Many older people, however, are nonetheless concerned about being unable to protect themselves and their homes from would-be robbers. Again, peace of mind is critical to a senior’s quality of life, so making every effort to secure one’s house is worthwhile.

Avoid Bathroom Hazards

Bathroom safety is critical because wet tile and flooring pose a severe slipping hazard. For added stability, get textured non-slip strips for bathtubs and showers, as well as grips or grab bars around showers and toilets. Replace a standard toilet with one that has a high profile and a raised seat. To lessen the risk of falls in the shower, provide a waterproof seat or chair and consider putting a removable handheld showerhead. To avoid scorching, keep the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F. If you have difficulty getting in and out of your tub or onto the toilet, ask your provider to assist you in obtaining a special tub chair, bench, or higher toilet seat. Get even more bathroom safety tips by reading this guide.

Install Safety and Accessibility Equipment

After removing obvious threats, install or purchase equipment that makes the rooms and appliances in your home safe to use. Replace door knobs with lever handles that are easier to turn and pull to make the rest of the house more accessible. Install nightlights in strategic locations, particularly between bedrooms and bathrooms, and assess your home’s overall illumination to see where you might boost visibility. Replace light bulbs and add lamps as needed.

Consider contacting a professional for greater changes. Many companies manufacture showers and bathtubs that allow users to open a door and step in instead of lifting their feet over the lip of a tub. If light switches and electrical outlets are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs, you may need to engage an electrician to rewire your home. If stairs are an inevitable feature of your home, consider installing a stairlift, which is a motorized system that allows people to sit and ride between floors.

Prevent Poisoning

Never attempt to heat your home with a stove, oven, or grill since these might emit carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas that you cannot see or smell. Make sure a carbon monoxide detector is near all bedrooms, and test and replace the battery twice a year. Keep all drugs in their original containers to avoid pharmaceutical mix-ups. Request that your pharmacist place large-print labels on your prescriptions so that they are easier to read. Take your prescriptions in a well-lit area where you can clearly see the labels. Bring all of your pill bottles to your doctor’s appointments so that he or she may inspect them and ensure you’re taking them correctly. When cleaning, never combine bleach, ammonia, or other cleaning chemicals. Cleaning liquids, when mixed, can produce lethal gases.

Install Home Security

Many home security businesses have begun to market self-installing systems in recent years. These systems range from simple alarms to entire smart home systems that connect your lights and thermostat to your phone. While there are other medical alert and home security systems to choose from, we recommend Alder, which combines both. Home security, fire and carbon monoxide detection, and medical alerts are all included in Alder’s senior-friendly packages. Alder’s medical alert necklace, in particular, allows you to summon emergency personnel at the click of a button.

Protect Against Abuse

Always keep your windows and doors locked. When you are alone in your home, never let a stranger in. Discuss phone salesperson offers with a friend or family member. Share no sensitive information, such as your social security number, credit card, bank information, or account passwords, with strangers who contact you. Always request formal details about any offers, prizes, or charities and do not respond until you have thoroughly studied the information. Allow yourself no pressure to make purchases, sign contracts, or make donations. It is never impolite to wait and talk about your plans with a family member or a friend.

There a ton of different ways to create a home for seniors. To learn more about aging in place, read this guide. Always remember that Valor Home Services is here to help upgrade your home to match your lifestyle, personality, health and disabilities. Let us help you create your dream home without all the stress by calling our office team to book an appointment.