Aging in place, or growing older in your own home, is something that many seniors would prefer to do. Being surrounded by familiar objects, pictures and memories contributes to more happy and healthy golden years. However, as one ages, certain safety precautions must be taken to keep the home safe. AARP conducted a survey in 2010 of 1,616 adults ages 45 and older and they found that fewer than half of the participants have a half-bath on the main level of their home, an entrance without steps, door handles that are levers instead of knobs, or doorways that are wider than is typical. These statistics are surprising considering that all of these things are important safety measures if your loved one is currently aging in place. If you are a caregiver or a family member who is concerned about the safety of your loved one’s home, this list will help you make your loved one’s home safe.
- Install safety bars in bathtubs and next to toilets.
Many injuries occur in the bathroom, especially when one is getting in or out of their shower or bathtub. Conditions are perfect for a fall: slippery floors, foggy air, and nothing to hold on to. If your loved one does not already have these essential safety bars in their home, they are easy to install and relatively cheap.
- Remove or tape down carpets or rugs that could cause a fall.
Rugs and carpets are easy to trip over for anybody, especially seniors who may not be steady on their feet. It is easy to tape down the corners of carpets or to remove them completely from your loved one’s home in order to prevent them from tripping and falling. This fix is very inexpensive and your loved one can live peacefully in their own home.
- Install temperature-activated flow reducers on faucets and showerheads.
These devices will reduce the flow of water to a trickle if the water temperature rises above about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, preventing burns in the shower or while washing dishes. Many people do not realize how serious burns injuries can be and how easy it is to burn oneself in the home. The device is easily installed and inexpensive.
- Install chair lifts for stairs.
If your loved one lives in a home with lots of stairs, especially between the main floor and the bedroom area, it may be a good idea to consider installing a chair lift. Your loved one may not need a wheelchair or even a walker at all times, but it still make be difficult to walk up and down stairs because it could be hard on their joints. Arthritis makes even the most mundane tasks painful and a chair lift can relieve the stress of having to walk up and down a flight of stairs. You can search and compare different companies and prices online.
- Keep your loved one connected!
Consider purchasing a computer or tablet for your loved one like our LivHOME CareMonitor, or even a medical alert bracelet or necklace. The more isolated a person is, the more likely it is that, if something happens, they may have to wait awhile for help if they only have a telephone in their home. Computers, smartphones, tablets and medical alert technology can help ensure your loved one’s safety and security in their own home.
There are a number of technologies out there geared towards seniors and their caregivers, and it is important to check them out. Seniors and their caregivers can worry less about aging in place because of all the safety technology that has been developed. Technology blogs and organizations such as AARP also feature advice for seniors or caregivers about how to age in place using high- or low-tech devices to ensure safety.