APRIL 8, 2021
The U.S. population is getting older. Aging baby boomers coupled with advancements in health care mean that more than 16% of the country’s residents are 65 years or older — a percentage that will continue to grow. These statistics are part of the reason home safety for elderly and senior populations needs to be top of mind.
Whether you’ve moved your 90-year-old father into your home, your 75-year-old mother lives alone in your childhood home, or you’re a healthy 70-year-old with plans to age in place, home is a place of familiarity and a source of comfort for many. Falls, kitchen fires, and forgetfulness are all things that may have you worried as you or your loved one continue to age. How do you reduce the risk of potential hazards in the home? What senior safety devices can help your loved one? And how can you ensure aging with comfort while minimizing risk? Our elderly home safety checklist addresses each of these factors:
Keep a list of emergency numbers in an easy-to-access place. If your senior still uses a phone, plug emergency contacts in ahead of time, or set them to their speed dial numbers. Also, post a list of the following numbers in large type near each phone in the home:
Professional caregivers, family members, or friends
According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries and nonfatal hospitalizations in senior adults. Here are a few elderly care tips to reduce the risks of slipping or falling in the home:
Install handrails in the bathroom.
Ensure rails and banisters along stairs are sturdy.
Tape down the edges of rugs or remove rugs completely.
Add extra lighting in the home, including in halls, along stairs, and in the bathrooms.
Watch furniture placement.
Reduce clutter on the floors.
Make sure the soles of all shoes have good traction, and purchase non-slip socks and slippers for those walking on wood or tile flooring.
Use a cane or walker for extra support.
Invest in an alarm necklace, medical pendant, or bracelet that alerts emergency services in the event of an incident.
Add rubber mats to slippery areas, like near exterior doors and in bathrooms.
Whether you’re a full-time caregiver or you’re overseeing your elderly parents’ care from two states away, here are a few ways to keep your senior safe:
Ensure your elderly loved one takes the correct medicine doses at the right times of day.
Remove or lock up any cleaning supplies that can give off toxic gases when mixed, like bleach and ammonia, or consider replacing all cleaning supplies with safer formulations.
Replace electronics or appliances with damaged cords or frayed wiring.
Remove fire hazards such as candles, lighters, and space heaters.
Install grab bars around the tub and toilet to make bathroom activities easier.
Add a shower seat in the bathroom.
Check the water heater temperature and set to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Replace any burned-out light bulbs both in the home and around the exterior.
Make sure all door and window locks are in good working condition.
Add motion detection lighting on the porch and driveway.
Remove burglar bars from windows in case your elderly relative needs to make an emergency exit.
Install a peephole on the door and a video doorbell camera. If your loved one is uncomfortable using the doorbell technology, have a caregiver monitor your senior’s home via a mobile app.
Consider a smart speaker with a voice assistant like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home.
Make sure a security system has carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Place monitored security cameras in main areas of the home, like the hallways, living room, and kitchen.
Call or check in on your seniors at home as often as possible.
Consult a doctor about your seniors’ health. If you have reason to think your elderly mother may have dementia, for instance, ask her doctor for a timeline of progression so you’ll have a plan in place when she can no longer live in her home safely.
Brinks Home™ offers a wide range of home security products designed to make your home more senior-friendly. Contact us today for more information.
Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.
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