As more and more seniors are reaching the age of retirement, the number of older loved ones living alone continues to grow. That’s why it’s especially important that your senior feel safe around the house when friends and family are not around. There are a number of things you can do to help safety-proof your senior’s home. Freedom Home Care lists several tips below:
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) one out of four seniors fall each year, one out of five falls result in serious injury and over 800,000 older adults are hospitalized due to a fall.
One of the biggest contributors to accidental falls for seniors are living room and bedroom rugs. When not properly taped down, rugs and carpeting can pose a significant hazard to an elderly person who has difficulty walking or seeing. To help avoid accidental falls, use glue, carpet staples or double-sided tape to help keep your loved one’s rug secure and in place. Check the edges of rugs and fix all carpet and tread on stairs. If necessary, remove any throw rugs.
Other things that could contribute to falls include:
Lack of Balance – Many times older loved ones may have trouble with gait and balance. The result can be hazardous for seniors, as a fall could result in long-term injury and loss of independence. A low-impact exercise routine done a few times a week could help enhance balance and decrease the risk of a fall.
Slippery Surfaces – If your loved one needs to walk on floors with smooth surfaces make sure they wear shoes with tread or a non-slip sole. Avoid walking around in socks. Utilize walkers, canes or any other mobility device to ensure they are able to move around safely.
Changes in Health – As we age, our eyesight and hearing tend to decline, making falls more likely to happen. Wearing things like glasses or hearing devices as prescribed by a doctor can greatly reduce the chance of an accident.
While falls result in an overwhelming number of incidents each year, there are other risks your senior faces when home alone. The bathroom can pose a significant hazard, as well. Installing things like grab bars, rubber mats, and shower seats can keep your loved one safe when toileting out climbing in and out of the bath or shower.
Keeping medications comfortably within your senior’s reach helps them access their pills easily. Other things like a daily pill organizer let them know which medication they need to take and when.
Electrical cords and plugs should either be taped to the floor or kept out of the way to prevent tripping. Appliances with damaged cords should be replaced. Limit the number of devices plugged into a single socket.
Lighting should be bright and work properly. Make sure doorways, walkways and hallways are well lit. Purchase a clapper or remote so your senior doesn’t have to physically turn lights off and on.