Most senior citizens have stated that they prefer to have home care, as opposed to being admitted to a care facility. That makes sense.
Who wouldn't choose to be under the care of their family over the supervision of a stranger?
Moving around at old age has proven to be challenging for senior citizens regardless of where they are, but that's especially true when they're at home.
They have to endure the arduous walk up the stairs, slippery tiles in the bathroom, and numerous other hazards. Ensuring that the elderly member has the utmost safety in their home should be a top priority for any family member.
Personal care is the best way to take care of an older adult, but that's not always possible since we have to live our lives.
Make the homes of the eldest generation safe to minimize the risk of injury.
What precautions should a family take to ensure that its seniors are protected? Here are some precautions a family can take to safeguard their aging loved ones.
Understanding the risk factors is the first step to mitigating the danger. Statistics have shown that one in three senior citizens fall every year. (1)
Typically, an average person falling means scrapes and bruises, but for senior citizens, it's much more severe.
Statistics reveal that falls are the most significant cause of death from injury in senior citizens.
To reduce that possibility, families should look at all the options that a senior could fall in his or her home and take the relevant precautions.
Installing several features is inevitable if you want to ensure that your senior member is safe. Since more than half of senior citizens deaths stem from injuries on stairs, that should be the first port of call.
While most of us place certain kitchen items on lower shelves for convenience, the reason you would do that for the senior is so that they don't get hurt.
Don’t store food or other items on high shelves and make sure they’re within easy reach. Preferably, the item should be close enough that someone doesn't have to stretch to get it.
Instead, store all their personal effects and commonly used items on the lowest shelf.
The bathroom is the place that can be one of the most dangerous places in the house. Not only can the senior slip on the tiles, but he or she can also struggle to get off the toilet seat if they don't have grab bars to hold.
Not all seniors have the energy to stand during a shower, so purchasing a shower chair would help them tremendously. While they're sitting on the shower chair, the other item that would help them is a hand-held shower faucet. (2)
The more grab bars you install in the bathroom, especially around the tub, the better. Having bars in bathrooms is beneficial but won't do much good if the tiles are slippery.
Make sure you have non-slip mats and secure loose rugs.
Seniors can toss and turn throughout the night. Having bed rails is a good idea since 15 % of deaths from home injury in seniors happen from falling off the chair or a bed. (3)
The other thing to remember is keeping closet rods at a low height to ensure that they have easy access.
Don't hesitate to install a telephone in the bedroom in case the senior needs to call you in the middle of the night for emergencies.
Outside of the main rooms mentioned above, there are some specific necessities to mention for added home safety.
Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors
Falls may be the most common injury among older adults, but another common hazard is worth mentioning:
Whether due to decreased mobility, awareness, or inadequate preparation, a sudden fire--a stove burner left on or an accidental spark--can become deadly traps.Still, nothing can replace the care and consideration of friends and family. A phone call or house visit not only lets you enjoy each other’s company, but you can make sure they have everything they need to feel safe on their own.
Always equip high-risk areas of the home, like the kitchen, with fire extinguishers. If a fire breaks out, they should have a fire extinguisher nearby.
Smoke detectors also help in fire awareness, but an extinguisher is a home safety essential regardless of age.
Wall-mounted speakers are another helpful addition to the home of aging adults. If there's an emergency and they're alone at home, the noise can alert neighbors or others nearby that they should send help.
Security cameras inside and outside the home can also contribute to a safer residence for seniors, especially if they live alone.
Sometimes the individual might not be close to a phone when they need help. Spotting someone who's fallen on a monitor can make all the difference.
When one thinks of elevators, the first thought that comes to mind is two doors that slide closed and pressing buttons to ascend. A home elevator for the elderly doesn't have to be that fancy.
One of the benefits of seated stairlifts is that it increases the house's value while easing the mobility of seniors. Seated stairlifts are rail-mounted lifts to replace using the stairs. Stairlifts allow them to retain mobility and keeps the home open to them.
Besides avoiding the arduous walk up the stairs, there's less risk of tripping or slipping on objects that might be on the stairs.
Families who can't afford to install a seated stairlift can opt for a moving stair rail. Stair rails move the person along with the stairs while they hold onto the rail.
Some seniors use a cane wherever they go, but a cane is mobile and can't hold you upright when you're about to fall. To ensure that the senior house member is safe around the house, make sure to fit their home with rails and grab bars where needed.
Safety bars and handrails are especially important in rooms that they frequent. Not only should your stairs have railings, but your shower should have grab bars, as well as a bathtub.
To help the senior get out of bed, you can also fit a grab bar next to their bed.
The entire house should be well-lit, especially areas where the elderly do not have the luxury of looking at the ground. Install very bright lights since many seniors have impaired vision. What might seem in plain sight to most of us isn't so obvious for them.
Good lighting can help anyone avoid tripping, and that's particularly true for seniors.
Automatic lights can be an excellent preventative addition to ensure nighttime falls don't occur.
While keeping the floor clean and clear of spills is hardly a modification, it's an easy way to reduce the risk of slipping.
Avoid standard rugs wherever possible as these are an all-too-common tripping hazard.
Replace them with rubber backed rugs. Keep them only where necessary. If tiles are essential, make sure that area has grab bars.
Address uneven flooring right away if it's an issue as an uneven floor is one of the most common fall hazards.
Adjusting Behavior--and Expectations
Numerous features and modifications around the house will help seniors to avoid injury, but a crucial component to preventing injury is educating older adults on the potential health risks they face by living alone.
They could outfit their home with all the latest safety measures and still be at risk if they lack the fundamental dangers to avoid.
The goal isn’t to scare someone, but to give them the information to make the decisions themselves. When they’re well-informed, they’re likelier to understand the benefits of a modification or addition.
Here are six crucial tips for seniors and how they can reduce their risk of injury.
- 1Ensure regular exercise. Preferably at least three times a week, an hour per session.
- 2Wear non-skid shoes everywhere around the house.
- 3Check your medication levels frequently to ensure that you don't run out.
- 4Have your vision tested regularly.
- 5Put everything back where you found it to avoid creating a tripping hazard in case you're in a rush, or it's an emergency.
- 6Use a reaching device to grab items that are too high.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition: The Key to Sound Safety Advice
Since falls are the leading cause of injury in aging adults, it’s good to reiterate the usefulness of things like grab bars. If someone’s worried about them clashing with the decor or are sensitive about it, ensure them that they’ll only go in high-traffic rooms and hallways.
A walking frame is a possible alternative to grab bars, though some might be reluctant to use one if it makes them feel uncomfortable.
Make sure floors aren’t a hazard. Rugs, uneven flooring, or slippery surfaces all pose a risk of injury. To make getting around safer, aside from any floor maintenance or changes is to ensure there’s plenty of light through the home.
If possible, try to provide a home without stairs for the senior. By avoiding stairs, the hazard of falling can be greatly minimized.
Your average person still falls up and down the stairs; but unlike many, seniors can experience severe injuries from a simple fall.
Modifications to the home and helpful tips are great at helping seniors reduce their risk of injury.