Home Safety Tips for SeniorsJanuary 10, 2023
Aging in place is a blessing for many seniors. However, as one ages, little things that may have been minor annoyances grow to be bigger problems. Getting up and down stairs can be an ordeal. Bumping into the side of the couch can mean a nasty fall. A dark hallway can lead to a myriad of troubles.
If you are aging in the comfort of your home and live alone, take note of these home safety tips for seniors. Implementing these—or having a loved one take care of it for you—will vastly improve your quality of life and help you feel safer.
Preventing falls in the main living space
Did you know that slips and falls are the primary cause of serious injury and injury-related death in seniors? If it wasn’t before, it should be plain to see why taking actionable measures to prevent falls is so essential to your overall well-being.
Take a few moments to assess the layout of your living room. Is there plenty of space to get around without bumping into anything? If your answer is anything other than “yes,” you may have to make some adjustments. Depending on the size of your home, this could mean moving furniture so there is plenty of space to navigate or getting rid of pieces.
Once your furniture has been assessed, take a look at the walkway. Wayward slippers, bags, and other objects are easy to trip over. Make sure everything is put away in a place where it won’t pose a hazard. If you have any area rugs, make sure they are secured in their spot with double-sided rug tape. When walking on smooth services, wear non-slip socks or slippers, and don’t move too quickly.
For areas of your home that aren’t very well-lit like hallways, consider installing motion-activated lights. These are especially great if you need to get up in the middle of the night for a glass of water or the restroom. You can find relatively cheap options that are battery-operated and adhered to the wall with command strips. This way, you don’t have to worry about breaking out the hammer.
If your home is multiple stories, make sure you use handrails and banisters to assure your balance. A first-floor office could be converted into a bedroom so you don’t have to worry about going upstairs too often.
If you have a history of falls
The prospect of another serious fall is paralyzing for many of those who have experienced it. If you have a history of falls, there are certain things you can do to steady your peace of mind. Your family, too, will be comforted knowing you have these procedures in mind.
If you have a cell phone, keep it on your person at all times. Put 911, poison control, a reliable family member or friend, and your healthcare provider on speed dial. On the off chance that something goes wrong, you have easy access to the most important phone numbers. Attach a card to the base with the above numbers.
Whether you do it over text or through a phone call, check in with a loved one at least once a day. If they haven’t heard from you even briefly in more than a day, they’ll know you may need help and come to check on you.
You may also consider purchasing a wearable alarm. If you fall, this device will contact emergency services for you and give you a call. If you have a smartwatch, many have a capability that will do the same. A notification will pop up asking you to confirm or deny whether or not you experienced a serious fall. If you did, it would contact emergency services.
Protecting yourself from bathroom hazards
Wet and slick surfaces can make bathrooms dangerous for seniors. Grab bars near the toilet and in the shower will make it easier to get around the potentially slippery safe without worrying. Remember: towel bars and soap dishes are not sufficient. They are not meant to hold the weight of a human and might break if you try to catch yourself on them.
Non-skid, rubber mats for when you enter and exit the shower are crucial to preventing slips. Rugs that are more for decoration need to be properly adhered to the ground or removed altogether. If you have the room, purchase a bath bench so you don’t have to worry about sitting on the shower floor. Replace bar soap with liquid soap that can be squeezed or pumped out of a bottle.
To avoid the risk of accidentally burning yourself on scalding water, set your water heater to 120. This way, you won’t inadvertently hurt yourself if you leave the water on to warm up for too long.
Important reminders for fire safety
Fire safety is so much more than stop, drop, and roll. To reduce your risk of a house fire, make sure you replace your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year. If you have any appliance with a fraying or broken electrical cord, replace it, as it can easily catch flame.
Keep space heaters away from anything flammable—like curtains or clothing. Because heat radiates, a good rule of thumb is to maintain three feet of empty space between the heater and any flammable materials.
When cooking, don’t wear any loose clothes or shirts with long sleeves. In addition, keep any hand towels and plastic materials a safe distance from a stove, as they could catch fire without you realizing it. To make sure your stove is completely turned off at all times, clearly mark each burner’s “off” position so you can definitively tell. If you do happen to experience a stovetop fire, do not try to put it out with water. Gas and oil float on top of water, so it will only spread the flames.
It’s best to not try to battle a fire yourself. Immediately leave your home and call 911. Your things can be replaced, but you can’t be! To make a proper escape plan, identify two exits in each of your rooms. This way, you have ample opportunity to escape a fire.
Home care could be right for you
Your safety at home also refers to your personal wellness. Tasks like bathing, dressing, and toileting can be challenging due to joint and muscle problems. This can impact your ability to maintain your home, do laundry, run errands, or even cook.
An at-home caregiver can take care of these needs for you. Whether you require help with dressing or simply want companionship, their compassionate, dignified care will help you look and feel your best, so you can take on your day as necessary.
Home Care Powered by AUAF has served the greater Chicago area as a leading non-medical home care agency for 30 years. We offer our staff the best training, which in turn provides you with the best possible care. You never have to worry about your needs going unaccounted for.
If you think you might benefit from the assistance of an at-home caregiver, call us at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to help.
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