5 Home Safety Tips for Older Adults
For most of us, home represents a safe space, both familiar and secure. But for older adults dealing with age-related conditions like diminished eyesight and limited mobility, home can be rife with potential dangers.
Whether you live alone or with a caretaker, home safety should always be a top priority. To maximize your home’s safety, consider taking the following precautions.
1. Eliminate fall hazards.
According to the National Institute on Aging, six out of every ten falls happen at home. Thankfully, with just a few simple changes, you can lower your risk of falling and maintain your independence.
To prevent injury from a fall, the CDC encourages older adults to speak up about the issue. Don’t be afraid to inform your medical team of any past falls or unsteadiness. While you’re at it, ask if any of your medications can cause dizziness as well. A yearly vision test is also advised.
Give your home a once-over and identify any areas that could use some work in the safety department. A few minor modifications can make all the difference. Be sure to do the following:
Check lighting. Make sure all pathways, stairs, and hallways are well lit.
Clear clutter. Don’t let items like books or shoes pile up in high-traffic areas.
Keep rugs in place. Use sturdy, double-sided tape to keep area rugs from sliding.
Add accessible seating. Make everyday tasks safer by adding a bench near the front door, in the kitchen, and in the shower.
Fall-proof your bathroom. To prevent a slip, install bathroom grab bars in the shower, which can be purchased at any hardware store.
Modify thresholds. If your home has raised steps between rooms, speak with a housing expert about adding indoor ramps to thresholds.
Check for outdoor hazards. Falls can occur outside, too, so check the driveway for cracks, remove rocks and roots from the lawn, and make sure the path to the mailbox isn’t obstructed.
Wear non-slip footwear. While you’re relaxing at home, throw on a cozy pair of slippers with rubber bottoms.
To find and fix potential dangers in your home, you can also download the CDC’s home fall prevention checklist.
2. Boost your safety with technology.
Thanks to modern advances in technology, aging adults are able to maintain their independence longer than ever before. Many easy-to-use devices can help people manage meds, place emergency calls, and prevent break-ins.
To maximize your home’s safety, consider implementing one or more of the following:
Medical alert systems. Wearable devices like Medical Alert or Bay Alarm Medical can be a literal lifesaver during an emergency. With the touch of a button, these devices provide access to emergency help 24/7.
Smart devices. Today’s smart home devices make everyday living more convenient. Amazon’s Alexa and Echo devices offer assistance to those struggling to keep track of schedules or medications. Smart home security systems like Ring Alarm can keep older adults safe from intruders.
Easy-to-use cell phones and tablets. New tech can be intimidating, but it makes contacting help much easier. For those leery of complicated gadgets, simpler alternatives do exist. GrandPad is a stripped-down version of a tablet that features foolproof navigation and voice and video calls. Lively Flip is a no-frills cell phone with large buttons, powerful speakers, and 24/7 access to a Lively Response Team.
3. Check lighting.
Proper lighting is a must for home safety—without it, accidents are much more likely to occur. Make sure all hallways and rooms are adequately lit, and replace any burned-out bulbs. For those late-night treks to the bathroom, plug-in night-lights are indispensable. Automatic lights that activate when you enter the room are always a smart investment, especially for people who use a cane or walker.
4. Display important phone numbers.
When an emergency strikes, scrambling for a misplaced number is the last thing you want to worry about. For older adults who have trouble recalling phone numbers, it’s smart to keep a list of emergency contacts displayed in a prominent place. Always keep the following numbers handy:
Family members, close friends, and neighbors
Police and fire departments
5. Practice fire safety.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that folks over 65 years old are twice as likely to perish in a fire than the general population, since older adults with poor mobility may struggle to escape a disastrous situation as quickly as others. As such, it’s critical to conduct a fire safety inspection in every home.
To prevent a home fire, the American Red Cross recommends installing smoke detectors on every floor and testing them each month. Avoid packing too many electric cords into one socket, and discard any cords that are damaged. Never leave candles unattended, and have your heating sources inspected annually to ensure they’re in good working order.
Reduce Chances of Falls at Provision Living
Are you concerned about your loved one’s safety? At Provision Living, we use a combination of individualized care and advanced technology to reduce falls and protect against other ailments as well. To learn more about the measures we take to keep residents safe, contact one of our care consultants today.