Making a home safe for older adults can be tricky. There are many potential hazards to consider, and it can be tough to know where to start. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. This article will discuss five tips to help make your home safer for older adults just like assisted living communities. Here are five tips for keeping your older adults safe at home:
1. Add Support Features
As people age, they might notice things like trouble with balance or slow reflexes. They might also lose weight. Your home should be outfitted with safety features to support your older adult, no matter how their health changes over time.
- Some places to look are Bathrooms: Grab bars by tubs and showers, elevated toilet seat, raised sink (so it’s at a comfortable height), non-skid flooring.
- Make your kitchens countertop extensions, lower cabinets, easily graspable knobs and handles on appliances safe.
- Add safety features to your bedroom’s side rails on the bed, the chair next to the bed for dressing, an alarm clock with large numbers
2. Keep Emergency Numbers Handy
It’s important to have the right people at your fingertips in case of an emergency. Keep a list of emergency contacts taped to the refrigerator, programmed into your phone, or written down and kept in a visible spot. In case of a fall, seizure, or another emergency, you’ll be able to reach help right away. Or you should follow these points:
- In case of fire, you should Dial 911
- In case of a fall consider dialling your local emergency number
- In case of a medical emergency dial your local emergency number or call a friend or family member to help transport the person to the hospital.
3. Prevent Falls
Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. One-third of all people over 65 will fall each year, so prevention is key. While you cannot always prevent falls, there are ways to decrease your loved one’s chances of falling. Some things you can do for assisted living communities are:
- Ensure there is plenty of light in all areas of the home, especially stairways and walkways
- Remove any tripping hazards, like loose rugs
- Install grab bars and handrails where needed
- Use non-skid mats in the bathtub and shower
- Wear supportive shoes that grip the floor properly
- Put a sturdy chair at the bottom of the stairs for people to hold on to when going up and down.
4. Consider The Use Of Adaptive Equipment
As people age, they might no longer be able to navigate with certain equipment. It is why it’s important to think about adaptive equipment before those products are needed as continuing care centres. For example, if your older adult uses a cane now but needs a walker next year, make sure that there is space in the home where a walker can go before it’s needed. Similarly, if they use a wheelchair right now for outside trips but will need one inside soon as well, figure out where it will fit before it’s needed. You can follow these points for the use of adaptive equipment:
- Walkers: Place walkers in the path of travel, make sure the brakes are working properly, and keep a sturdy chair next to the bed for walking assistance
- Canes: Store canes at an easily reached spot, like by the refrigerator or stove
- Wheelchairs: Make sure there is enough space to navigate in all areas of the home, remove any obstacles in the way, and have a solid surface to wheel on
- Bathroom safety: Install a seat in the shower, non-skid flooring and bars for stability, and a toilet seat raiser
5. Home Entrance Safety
Many home accidents happen right when people are entering or leaving the house. It’s easy to forget to think about the front door, but it’s important to ensure that your older adult can safely get in and out of the home. To help avoid these accidents, make sure your home entrance is safe. Some tips include:
- Keeping the porch and walkway well lit
- Installing a doorbell with a light on it
- Make sure the front door opens easily and is in good condition
- Putting a rug at the bottom of the stairs to provide traction
- Make sure there is a clear path for them to get outside, with nothing blocking their way, like large plants or furniture. Or you can also take them to continuing care centres for the elderly.
- Check the path regularly for trip hazards, especially ice patches in the winter months
With an older adult in the home, think of safety as a 24/7 job. That may seem daunting at first, but by making changes to your home, you can help prevent injuries. It’s important to add support features, keep emergency numbers handy, prevent falls, consider the use of adaptive equipment, and make sure the home entrance is safe. Older adults should feel comfortable and safe in their own homes, so take these steps to ensure they do.