Most of our elderly family members hope to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Home is comfortable and familiar and living there fosters a sense of independence. With a little extra effort, your elderly loved ones can stay in their home longer. Use these seven tips to make a home safe for seniors so that aging family members are comfortable and secure at home.
1. Eliminate Fall Hazards to Make a Home Safe for Seniors
The leading cause of injuries for elderly individuals is falling. Aging bones become brittle and break more easily. Inspect the home and look for things that could cause falls.
Throw rugs are hazards because they can slip and a family member could lose their footing. If the home has hard floors, purchase non-slip bedroom shoes. Don’t use extension cords that stretch across the floor. Eliminate clutter that might end up on the floor such as magazines and newspapers.
2. Make the Bathroom Safe
The bathroom can be a hazardous place for seniors. Make it safer by adding grab bars beside the toilet and in the shower. Place a rubber mat in the tub and add a shower chair. A handheld showerhead will make bathing easier.
To prevent scalds, set the temperature on the hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees. Put nightlights in the bathroom and in the hallways for safe travel at night.
3. Kitchen Safety
The kitchen is the most frequently used room in the house. While most of our elderly family members still enjoy cooking, meal delivery kits are a great addition to reduce trips to the grocery store and time spent preparing food.
Rearrange the space to move small appliances and frequently-used items to lower shelves. To make the kitchen safe for seniors, keep everything they’ll need within easy reach.
4. Keep Stairways in the Home Safe for Seniors
Homes with a staircase are challenging for aging family members. Check to make sure rails are secure and add rails if there are none. Paint stair landings a lighter color, and make sure the stairway has adequate lighting. As your loved one’s mobility decreases, consider having a motorized lift installed.
5. Improve Bedroom Safety
Most people use cell phones, but elderly family members should also have a landline beside the bed. The battery won’t die and a landline phone is always in the same place. Post emergency numbers nearby. In the bedroom and throughout the home, replace round doorknobs with lever-style ones. They are easier to open in an emergency.
6. Check on Seniors Frequently
Check on aging parents often. When you’re busy or out of town, enlist the help of friends and neighbors or professional caregivers. In extreme weather, de-ice around outside entrances and walkways. Check to see if any small repairs are needed so they don’t try to tackle the jobs themselves.
7. Make a Safe Home for Seniors
Make sure smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and other alarms are functioning and have fresh batteries. Install a peephole in exterior doors and a mail slot in the front door to prevent mail theft.
Help prevent break-ins with a good security system and outdoor motion lights. Finally, an emergency alert device worn around the neck can provide the ultimate peace of mind to keep your loved ones safe.