Take It From Me: Tips for Keeping the Elderly Safe in Their Homes

February 18, 2014

Tips for Keeping the Elderly Safe in Their Homes

If you have a senior loved one living with you or living on their own, you probably have some level of concern for their safety. Fortunately there are some things that you can do around the house to ensure that your elderly loved one is as safe and secure as possible as they move through their house. By taking the time to improve the security around their homes as well as making some improvements on the inside for safety, you can feel confident that your elderly relative or friend will be safe when you aren't around to help.

Security gates, fences and cameras

One of the more advanced ways to keep a senior loved one safe and secure is to install a fence with a gate around the home. To go a step further, however, you should make sure that this gate is electronic and that it has a remote control that can be used from the car. This way, as your elderly loved one travels back and forth from the home, they don't need to put themselves in harm's way by getting out of the vehicle or fumbling with the gate. As an additional safety measure, you will want to make sure that the gated area is well lit and that a video/audio intercom is available and accessible from the home.
Install bright lighting throughout the home: inside and out As we age, our vision begins to wane, and we need more light in order to see than we ever did before. In fact, studies show that when comparing the vision of someone who is 85 with the vision of someone who is 15, the 85 year old needs about three times more light than the 15 year old to see the same thing. This means it is imperative that the home of a senior have bright, adequate lights in their home, and they should have easy access to the light sources. There should be switches near every door or even a "clap on" system that they can use in order to turn the lights in a room on or off. Though much is made known about interior lighting, it is just as important to remember the same things should be applied outdoors, as well.

Eliminate the possibility for falls as much as possible

According to the CDC, approximately one in three seniors will fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in adults over the age of 65. Fortunately, many of these falls are avoidable with the right planning. There are a number of things that you can do in order to lessen the chance of falls in the home of a senior. One of the things that you should consider is placing rails on stairs. This simple addition can greatly reduce the chance of a dangerous fall. You also might want to consider non-skid tape on the stairs, as well. If you want to make an investment into the home of your elderly relative needs it, you can also install a chair lift on the stairs. This way, they can easily get up and down as needed.
There are certainly other dangers in the home for seniors even if there are not stairs to contend with. The bathroom is another danger area that should be focused on when you wish to make a home safer. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging, about 80% of all senior falls occur in the bathroom. For instance, rails should be installed next to the toilet as well as in the bathtub and shower area. Non-slip mats should be placed throughout the bathroom as well, and special attention should be focused on any areas that can become slick with water.

Safety in the kitchen

After the bathroom, the kitchen is another dangerous place for seniors. You can help to lower the risk of injury in the kitchen by making the room a bit more practical for senior living. For instance, removing knobs on drawers and cabinets and replacing them with handles can be very beneficial as they can open easier. Ensuring that the stove has knobs at the front of the appliance and not the back can also help as your loved one won't have to lean forward to reach the controls.

These are just a few of the things that you can do around the home to keep a senior loved one safe. By taking the time to take a look at a senior's home and identifying any hazards, you can significantly reduce the risk of a problem. Other things you may want to consider include a medical alert system or general alarm system that will alert authorities to trouble. By taking the time to do these things now, you will find that your senior loved one will remain safe for many years to come.

Matthew Suter is Managing Director of Fencemakers, a leading provider of Gates and Fencing in Perth, Western Australia. Find Matthew on Google+.

1 comment :

  1. I recommend a new medical alert system called SafeinHome. It uses sensors to monitor the movements of the person without interfering with the person's daily routine. The sensors connect wirelessly to a communications hub that had its own built-in cellular connection. The hub works with the sensors to send information and alerts about the senior’s activities and routines to your smart phone and computer. You don’t have to buy an extra phone line, like most other medical alert systems require. It is caregiver-centric instead of senior-centric, meaning that the older person does not need to worry about wearing a medical alert bracelet if he or she does not want to. Here is a link to the website: www.safeinhome.com/main

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