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Keeping Elderly Safe at Home: Helping Seniors Live at Home Longer

With help from home care providers and preventative measures, seniors can now live at home longer. However, it is important to be aware and prepared for all the potential dangers seniors are at risk for living independently. If you and your aging loved ones take the appropriate safety steps, keeping elderly at home is now feasible and you can reduce the chances of accidents or injuries.

SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER AND DO WHEN KEEPING ELDERLY SAFE AT HOME

Start by conducting a review and assessment of the home environment

The best way to avoid accidents is by closely examining your aging loved one’s living situation. Look for any potential hazardous situations.

Falls and fires pose the biggest risks for seniors. On average 1 in 3 individuals over the age of 65 will fall at least once. The amount of fall related accidents rose significantly in the last years. Falls make it harder to get around and greatly limit the ability for elderly to live independently.

Remove Clutter

Disorderliness such as electrical cords laying around, things on the floor, loose rugs, space heaters, etc. make for excellent obstacles or hazards around the house. Clutter can easily lead to house fires.

Other things to remember:

  • Secure all scatter or loose rugs by taping or tacking down
  • Remove electrical or telephone cords out of the way
  • Clear traffic areas from any obstructions
  • Measure walking aids and make sure they’re easily mobile in the home

Continue to do ongoing inspections

Never stop observing your elderly loved ones. Constantly assess their living arrangements and be on the prowl for unsafe situations. Encourage safe practices and use of safety equipment.

OTHER WAYS TO KEEP SAFE AT HOME INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING

General Safety Tips

  • Consider a medical alert system
  • Check for unstable rails or stairs inside and outside of the house
  • Make sure entries and sidewalks are safe and in good repair
  • Clearly mark hand rails and steps with bright or contrasting colored tape
  • Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detector accessible and on every floor
  • Make sure shoes and clothes are properly fitted
  • Avoid slippery surfaces and wipe spills quickly
  • If stairs are a burden, consider purchasing a stairlift
  • Install motion sensor lighting
  • Make sure rooms and especially stair cases have plenty of ample lighting
  • Keep areas sanitary and disinfected
  • Install door locks and child-proof electrical plugs and latches

Bathroom Safety bathroom-safety-for-the-elderly

  • Use recommended bath aids like a chair for the toilet and shower, handheld shower head, and grab bars for inside and out of the shower
  • Make sure the shower or tub is non-slip with a bath mat
  • Make sure hot and cold faucets are clearly marked
  • Set water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid scalding

Kitchen Safety

  • Keep floors clean from clutter or spills
  • Store heavier objects at waist level
  • Make sure food is rotated regularly and expired goods are tossed
  • Clearly mark “on” / “off” switches on appliances with bright colors
  • Keep sharp knives in a rack
  • Separate hazardous items from food
  • Equip appliances with automatic shut off features

Prescription Safetyprescription-safety-for-seniors

  • Review your aged one’s medicines constantly and consult with a doctor or pharmacist when new medication is prescribed
  • Read the labels before taking and ask a professional if you have any questions
  • Clearly label all prescription drugs
  • Monitor medicines are being taken when required and in the correct dose
  • Dispose of any old or expired medicines
  • Never share medicines or borrow
  • Store medicines in a dispenser to keep track of

When it comes to the elderly and our health in general, it is always better to be safe than sorry. We found this safety checklist from A Place for Mom particularly useful.

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