Having an aging parent or senior citizen living at home can be wonderful. Having the entire family together can be a lovely experience to grow together.
But having them live with you also means that you need to take their safety and comfort into account. Designing and decorating your homes with safety as a crucial factor helps to keep them safe and happy.
Here are five simple ways to improve safety at home for aged people:
1. Work on the Bathroom
Bathrooms are potential high fall risk zones for seniors at home, says a study, and it is important to make tweaks to accommodate their needs and comfort in the space to improve safety.
- If your home has very old bathrooms and slippery floors, then you might be looking at a remodel to ensure you have good quality equipment that is safe for use. Also, avoid using flooring options that are too slippery or take too long to dry.
- Make sure there is no need to step into the bathtub to access the shower as these surfaces are usually slippery.
- Try to install sturdy towel racks and grips around the bathroom to offer extra support when they are using the shower.
- Use rubber mats on the floor to provide additional grip.
- Install a bathing chair to improve comfort.
- Install proper nightlight and high raised seats in the toilet to support seniors with problems such as arthritis. It reduces the
- effort to use the toilet.
- Try to keep the light on in the night as seniors frequent bathrooms during this time, and the light could help them avoid slipping.
- Mark the hot and cold faucets clearly and try to control the thermostat and maintain at a comfortable temperature to eliminate any risks of burns.
2. Fall Proof your Home
Access the house for any possible falling or tripping hazards and make sure you eliminate them.
- Rugs add a gorgeous touch to your homes but also increase the risk of tripping and slipping. Throw rugs and area rugs can be risky with seniors in the house, and it is best to get rid of them.
- Look into safe mobility devices such as pride victory 10 while stepping out of the house.
- Install rails or sturdy support along stairways and pathways to provide additional support.
- Use non-skid tapes on the floor, especially on smooth surfaces in the house.
- Declutter the common areas of the house and try to place minimal furniture or other decorations to provide ample space to walk.
- Make sure you remove items such as pet bowls, toys, books, power cords from the floor. Never leave them lying around.
- If the seniors at home have difficulty climbing stairs, consult a qualified provider for stairlifts that can reduce the effort.
- Paint the stair steps in contrasting colors to help seniors with a blurred vision to differentiate them while climbing.
- Make sure the design of entry and exits in the house are simple and do not have any obstructions for easy access. The doors must be accessible and easy to open with minimal effort.
3. Fix the Kitchen
The kitchen is yet another part of the home you need to secure for seniors. Even if they are not preparing the meals, it is best to access the area for safety, as a precaution.
- Mark everything in the kitchen in bold letters. It is especially crucial for cleaning supplies and other chemicals that they might mistake.
- Place items that are used frequently at a reachable height. Storing it at lower levels makes it easy for them to access it even in case they wish to brew a cup of tea or prepare a simple snack for themselves.
- Look for safe storing options for the knives to avoid accidental falling.
- Cover your faucets with rubber, and if possible, try to color-code them to denote hot and cold water.
- Replace kitchen faucets with a simple one lever mechanism to make it easy to use.
- Do a refrigerator clean up at least once every week to discard expired products and old food. Mark each division in the fridge to hold certain types of foods, and keep any food that they might be allergic to or need to restrict consumption hidden.
- Shop for healthy snacks as old folks love to munch, and having healthy options keeps them in good health while they enjoy their snack time.
- Improve fire safety in the kitchen. Check your fire alarms for batteries and make sure you have a fire extinguisher within the kitchen in case of an emergency.
- Clean up spills, oil drops, grease immediately.
- Teach them to use a microwave to heat their food instead of the stove for a safer cooking option.
4. Improve the Lighting
Providing ample lighting throughout your home is one of the many important ways to ensure safety for seniors. With aging eyes that cause poor vision, it is best to avoid leaving them in dull lit or dark parts of the house that could increase the risk of mishap.
- Establish clear and simple lighting in hallways and pathways, especially around the areas of that house that are frequently used.
- Check lighting systems in the patio, garage, driveway, lawn, and entryways of the house.
- Replace old and burnt out lights immediately, and try to stick to simple lights instead of multi colors or patterns to avoid confusing seniors at home.
- Invest in motion detectors inside and outside your homes to enhance safety measures.
- Keep switches close to the beds or couch in the sitting area to improve accessibility.
- Add additional lights to stairways and other fall risk zones.
5. Invest in Safety Devices
There are several safety devices available for seniors today that can make their stay at home safe. These devices help during common problems faced by senior citizens, such as falling. They make sure to inform the concerned person to receive care at the right time.
- Fall detection devices can be a great choice for seniors to make sure they are safe while they are alone. Impact underwear that protects the hips and joints during a fall can be a precautionary step as well.
- Pill dispensers, activity monitors, security cameras, mobility assistance rails and devices, home safety, and monitoring system, medical emergency devices, can be additional aid to improve safety measures around your home.
- Install peepholes in the doors of the rooms. Install security cameras outside doors to ensure no strangers are entering the house. Make sure you have landlines along with cell phones in the house. Cell phones can be quite confusing for senior citizens, and they tend to forget them often. Landlines can help you get in touch with them.
Hire a personal caregiver, especially if you cannot stay at home with the old folks. It helps you to keep a check on them and ensure all their needs are addressed at the right time. Have open conversations about common things they need to be aware of like telephone scammers, false advertisements, marketing frauds. Display emergency numbers in bold letters in many parts of the house to make sure they have access to them in an unexpected situation. Inform a trusted friend or neighbor in case you are leaving town, or an old person might be home alone to check upon them.