Senior safety at home

By June 6, 2012Aging in Place

Let’s face it, seniors are more comfortable and definitely happier when they can live in the comfort of their own homes. Since the popularity of in-home care continues to rise, it’s very important to make sure that your loved one is safe. That means being aware of the potential dangers that are present in the home and preparing for them accordingly. Using the following safety tips for your family member or loved one can ensure that they stay as safe as possible.

HOME SAFETY

  • Invest in a medic alert system or set up a type of buddy system
  • Ensure there is a smoke detector on every floor of the home.
  • Practice getting up slowly to ensure they have their balance before beginning to walk.
  • Wear the proper shoes with traction on the bottom and low heels.
  • Do not use scatter rugs since they can slide so easily.
  • Remove telephone cords from areas where they walk often.
  • Do not use wax on floors.
  • Install stable rails for all stairs and showers inside the home.
  • Make sure each staircase has bright lighting with switches that are at the top and bottom.
  • Make sure the steps on the stairs have non-slip surfaces.

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OUTDOORS

  • Make sure that all porches have grit on them to prevent slips
  • Inspect all railing for sturdiness and any swings on porch

LIVING ROOMS

  • Take up all extension cords, throw rugs
  • Use light night lights in unlit areas for nighttime bathroom trips.
  • Test batteries in all smoke alarms on a regular basis.

KITCHEN

  • Use electric burners on the stove that turn them off after a certain time has passed.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher close by in the kitchen.
  • Use very sturdy step stools with handles for reaching.
  • Keep all of the vents free of grease to prevent fires.
  • Always keep the floors clear.
  • Ensure that the appliances are marked ON and OFF clearly and with bright colors.
  • Put all sharp knives in a special knife block.
  • Put heavy pots and pans on a lower cabinet level.
  • Store all hazardous cleaning supplies away from foods.
  • Advise them not to wear long or loose clothing when cooking on the stove.
  • Constantly check the expiration dates of foods.

BATHROOM

  • Use a night light on in the bathroom.
  • Consider installing grab bars on the wall of the toilet for added security.
  • Ensure there is a bath mat inside the tub to increase stability and avoid slips.
  • Turn the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they do not burn themselves.
  • Ensure that the faucets are marked HOT and COLD clearly.
  • Ensure the door locks can be opened from both sides.
  • Install each and every shower and tub with tub cutaways.
  • Ensure that each tub has its own grab bars.
  • Consider installing higher toilets to make standing and sitting easier.
  • Use the plastic shower seats that also have portable showerheads.

DRUG SAFETY

  • Check all medications on a regular and frequent basis for expiration dates.
  • Label each medication clearly and in bright colors.
  • Ensure that the area medications are stored in is brightly lit so they can read the labels easily.
  • Promptly throw medications away once the expiration date has gone by.
  • Never advise them to borrow medications from other people.
  • Invest in a pillbox that is clearly labeled and easily accessible.
  • Check with the doctor or pharmacist to ensure that over-the-counter medications are safe to take with prescription medications.

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