If you’re a senior worried about home safety, or an adult child concerned about a parent, take some advice from Ben Franklin: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The time and effort spent on a home safety plan is minimal compared to the distress and time that may come with recovering from an accident.
And, following senior safety tips isn’t just a way to bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones — it can be deeply satisfying and even fun. Here are some ideas for keeping yourself safe at home.
Ask a senior care expert to consider the full range of risks ...
When most people think about home safety for seniors, they think about fall prevention. Replacing old scatter rugs and coating floors with non-slip wax will remove some hazards. Installing motion-sensor lights will also make navigating dark hallways safer. But these actions represent only part of the picture. In-home caregivers or experts on senior safety will also consider factors like the thermostat temperature on your water heater, which appliances might give off carbon monoxide, and whether the print size on your medication labels is legible.
… but don’t feel overwhelmed
Once your senior safety expert has noted all the risks, advice on mitigating them may look like the world’s scariest to-do list.
Don’t panic. One of the most satisfying things about home safety is discovering how many critical hazards are quick-fixes. By the end of day one, you and your helper will have identified appliances with frayed power cords, checked the batteries on your smoke detectors, reviewed your emergency contact information and removed obvious tripping hazards.
Focus on the bathroom
Not only are falls the biggest health and safety threat for seniors, but studies show that around 80% of household falls happen in the bathroom.
The good news? Most of these accidents can be prevented with the help of a senior safety expert and some simple additions such as non-slip floor mats, a raised toilet seat and grab bars.
One challenge is that many older adults are uncomfortable discussing toileting and bathing with their loved ones. This is where an in-home caregiver armed with a comprehensive care plan can be a huge asset. It’s often easier to talk about sensitive issues with a compassionate professional than with someone you’ve known all your life.
Embrace new technology
Home technology is designed to be simple and intuitive, so even if you’re not tech savvy, you can use devices known to help keep seniors safe at home. Many older adults use “virtual assistants” like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, which can do everything from adjusting the thermostat to phoning emergency contacts via simple voice commands.
Stay in control
Placing things you use often within easy reach is a simple safety measure, once you get started. Friends and family will gladly help you reorganize, but not always productively — sometimes, adult children or long-term friends aren’t the ideal home helpers, because they’re not acting in a professional capacity. Our advice is to put one trusted person in charge of the project, whether it’s a well-organized relative or a trained senior safety expert.
You can access all the resources you need through Care Advantage. If you’re an older adult or their loved one, feel free to call us today for a chat about senior safety. We’d love to help you turn your house into the safe haven you deserve.