If you are entrusted with the care of an elderly loved one, make sure their living environment is a secure space. Taking steps to improve the safety of the home for your aging family member is as important as childproofing a home for infants. If you aren’t mindful, simple things pose a risk to health and wellness. Here are some tips to help create a safe home for seniors.
Remove Rugs and Clutter to Create a Safe Home for Seniors
According to statistics from the National Council on Aging, one out of four people over the age of 65 falls each year. Many of these falls lead to disability, injury, or death. To make a safe home for seniors, remove or secure rugs.
Clear clutter from walking paths to eliminate tripping hazards. Nonslip wax applied to laminate flooring makes it less slippery. Low pile carpeting or cork flooring are great options in homes with elderly family members.
Install Security and Medical Alert Systems for Seniors
Home security and medical alert systems will assist seniors in the event of a health-related or other emergency. For baby boomers who are reluctant to leave their lifelong residence, both of these features add another level of protection in creating a safe home for seniors. Getting help is as easy as pushing a button, day or night. Many security and medical alert systems come with mobile apps, so they’re also accessible from your smartphone.
Make Stairways Safe
Stairs pose a threat to older people with limited mobility, vision trouble, or balance problems. If the layout of the home permits, have your elderly family member use the main floor as their primary living space. This way, everything they need is on one level and there’s no regular need to use stairs.
Make sure the stairway is well-lit and install sturdy handrails on both sides of the staircase. These rails give seniors extra support when using the steps. If you’re financially able or you have insurance that will cover it, add a stairlift chair to reduce the danger of stairs in the home.
Add Bathroom Features
Not surprisingly, the bathroom is a location where most injuries occur for older adults. Wet flooring is slippery and high-walled bathtubs are difficult to exit. To improve safety, add rails in showers and around tubs for extra stability. Other items that make bathrooms safer include shower chairs and a raised toilet seat.
If economically feasible, consider a walk-in tub. This modern bath features a door and comfortable seating, so it’s easier and safer to use. Rubber mats on the floor of the tub help prevent slipping.
Safely Manage Medications
To ensure your loved one takes medications as directed, use a multiday pillbox that has each day’s medications in labeled compartments. Help your elderly family member fill the box each week with the required prescriptions.
Make sure any remaining pills are stored in their original container to avoid confusion and help make a safe home for seniors.
Research In-Home Care Providers
If using in-home care providers, always do a background and reference check on the company or individual you’re hiring. Monitor their work and attention to detail. Ask your loved one(s) often for feedback about their experience. Stop by and check in so you’re comfortable that they’re receiving the highest level of care.