Living independently without having to rely on anyone is a goal worth striving for. However, while seniors may want to live independently, they are at greater risk for accidents in their homes. Millions of accidents occur every year involving seniors in their homes, and one-third of those accidents are falls. A major contribution to this is the age of their home and obstacles throughout. There are methods caregivers can use to assist their loved ones, however, and maintain a safe home environment.
Check and Repair Items
Aging homes can be difficult and expensive for older adults to live in. Check for outdated electrical outlets and wiring and reinstall as needed. Limit the use of extensions cords, as they can easily be tripped on. Ensure there is adequate lighting and paint is not peeling. Also, check that all heating and air conditioning units are functioning and the insulation is adequate.
Make the Home More Livable
To combat some of the inhibitors of living in an aging home, there are some items that can be installed within the home, such as grab bars, ramps, curbless showers, lever handles, and stair lifts. Making room for mobility using assistive devices like walkers and wheelchairs will ensure older adults are better able to maneuver through their home. If the home has more than one floor, it may be beneficial to have both the living and sleeping quarters on the main floor.
Safety Tips for Seniors
- Clean up any spills immediately to prevent slipping and falling.
- Use a step stool or reacher, not a chair, to reach high places.
- Keep closet and doors and drawers closed to prevent tripping an bruising.
- Keep walking aids within reach
- Keep a nightlight on or a flashlight within reach of your bed
- Wear close-fitting sleeves to prevent burns and spills
- Arrange the furniture in all rooms to allow for adequate space to walk
- Remove all scatter rugs and repair frayed carpet and loose edges.
- Do not use soap dishes or towel racks for support when getting in and out of the shower. Instead, place a non-skid mat in the shower or bathtub and install grab bars.
Older adults must take extra precautions to ensure their safety due to physical changes that occur during the aging process, such as declining vision and hearing. These factors greatly increase the risk of injury in the home, therefore, ensuring that daily upkeep is maintained is crucial for seniors living at home. Should anything become damaged or in need of repair, it should be addressed immediately.