Tips to Keep Your Loved One Safe at Home
One of the most common caregiver questions is how to keep your loved one safe at home. The bathroom is the area you should focus on first because that’s where most senior falls occur.
Learn more from these six other tips about how to keep your loved one safe at home.
6 Tips to Keep Your Loved One Safe at Home
With room-by-room suggestions, the home guide can be overwhelming at first, especially for caregivers who aren’t able to implement major modifications to the home.
Still, there are some simple areas to focus on to make your home safer for the senior you are caring for, like:
1. Let There Be Light
Seniors who have a hard time seeing are at an increased risk of accidents. Ensure areas around entryways, hallways and stairs are well lit, and add brighter or extra lights if needed. You can also install glow-in-the-dark light switches or motion-sensor lighting throughout your home so seniors don’t need to struggle to find the light switch in the dark.
2. Easy Access to Doors and Windows for Seniors with Arthritis
If the senior you’re caring for has arthritis, then opening windows and turning door knobs may be difficult. Consider the hardware you choose for these areas of your home — a lever-style door handle may be easier to use than a round one.
3. Restrict Access to Doors, Windows and Dangerous Zones for Seniors with Dementia
On the other hand, if the senior you’re caring for has dementia or another type of cognitive impairment, then it will be critical to limit access to the outdoors (in case they wander) as well as to dangerous household items like chemicals, household cleaners (like bleach), medicines and other items that could accidentally be swallowed. Child-locks and other child-proofing products work well for this purpose.
4. Assist with Mobility
It’s important to make it easy for your senior loved one to move around the home. Remove tripping hazards like rugs (and if you have small children, keep the ground as toy-free as possible or establish a senior-free toy zone).
A bench at the front door is extremely helpful for seniors to sit while putting on winter boots or to place bags when they come in from outside.
A tall counter stool is also a great addition to the kitchen. It can allow your senior to remain independent and cook while sitting down (which is great for seniors who can’t stand for long periods of time).
Consider the washroom area. A walk-in shower is much easier for seniors to maneuver and hand-rails will help them with mobility as well. If your washroom is big enough consider having a stool or other place to sit during grooming routines.
5. Make It Easy to Call for Help
No matter how many modifications you make to your home, you can never prevent the unexpected. If a senior has an emergency, getting immediate help can be the difference between life and death.
Consider using a call-assist service or personal emergency response system which the senior can wear on their neck or wrist and push a button should they need help. If you don’t have such a service in your area then make sure your senior carries a cell phone on them, or at the very least, that there is a phone within arms reach of the areas that your senior spends most of their time.
6. Use At-Home Safety Devices
There are a number of products out there that are designed to keep seniors safe. For example, Impactactive Hip Protectors are designed to protect a senior’s hips, should they fall. These light and comfortable underwear come in a number of designs for men and women and will shield the hips from fracturing during a fall.
Other types of at-home safety devices for seniors include:
- Health and activity monitors: Jawbone
- Home monitoring systems: BeClose
- Pill dispensers: Monitored
- Safety and location tracking devices: Pocketfinder GPS
- Security poles and mobility assistance rails: Stander Security Pole
- TV monitoring systems: GrandCare Systems
Resources to Help You Care for Medical and Personal Needs
Technology is great, but knowing how to properly care for your senior’s medical and personal needs is also an important factor to keeping them (and you) safe. This includes knowing how to:
- Deal with incontinence
- Manage medication, take blood pressure and check blood sugar levels
- Provide proper nutrition
- Safely move your senior (should they be bedridden)
Video resources for caregivers include:
The National Caregiver’s Library is an excellent resource with advice and tips including a Needs Assessment Worksheet that will help you determine the level and type of care you should provide your senior loved one. Consider completing this worksheet and taking it with you on your next doctor’s visit.
Also, discuss with your doctor the signs or symptoms that indicate you should make a doctor’s appointment or, in an emergency call 911.
What other strategies or tips have you used to keep your loved one safe at home? Share your stories and suggestions with us in the comments below.
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