Many seniors prefer to live in their homes independently for as long as possible. However, as they get older, they may have a more difficult time handling everyday activities. This is why it is very important to keep them safe in their homes. When older people live at home alone, they are at higher risk of falls and other types of accidents. They may also be at risk of being victims of criminals who target older people. This is why if you are a senior living alone, or you are taking care of a senior, the following tips can can keep them safe.
Emergency Numbers Should be Kept Handy
It is important to have emergency numbers listed by each phone. The print should be large so they can easily see the numbers if they are rushed or scared. Here are some numbers that should be listed:
- Poison control
- Friends or family members that can be called in case of an emergency
- Doctor’s office
Most seniors are at risk of falling. Whether it is due to age or lack of balance, falls can happen at any time. This is why it is crucial that their home is adapted to their needs and to prevent falls. Here are some things that can be done to prevent falls in seniors:
- If the senior has issues with balance, or has difficulty with walking, you should talk to your doctor about having a fall risk assessment.
- Their provider can also suggest an exercise program for the purpose of fall prevention.
- If the senior has previously fallen, they can be assessed for a need to wear an alarm device around their neck or as a bracelet so they can press the alarm button for emergency services.
- The senior should never rush to the phone as they can easily fall. They should carry the phone with them or let it go to voicemail.
- Seniors should wear non-slip footwear indoors and outdoors to prevent falls.
- Any devices that help them walk such as a walker, or a cane should always be used and holding on to walls or furniture should be avoided.
Safe Proofing the Home
For seniors to move freely around their home without the risk of falling, it is important to take some precautions. Here are a few tips:
- All hallways, stairs, and paths should be clear and free of any objects.
- Rails and bannisters should always be used when going up or down the stairs and rugs on top or bottom of the stairs should be avoided.
- Any area rugs should be taped to the floor, so they do not move around.
Protection Against Fire and Other Dangers
All precautions should be taken to help your senior loved ones avoid a fire. Here are a few things that can be done to avoid fires:
- For any type of fire, the senior should leave the home and call emergency services.
- When they are cooking, they should not wear loose clothing or long sleeves.
- Anytime they notice appliances that have damaged electrical cords, they should be replaced immediately.
- There should not be too many electric cords in one socket or an extension cord.
- There should be a working smoke detector in the home and batteries should be replaced regularly.
- Burning cigarettes or candles should not be left alone in an empty room even for a short period of time.
- Heaters should be at least three feet from anything that can set on fire and should be turned off when nobody is in the room.
Avoiding Bathroom Hazards
There are many ways in which seniors can hurt themselves in the bathroom. Here are some precautions that can be taken to avoid hazards in the bathroom:
- The water heater should be set to no more than 120° F, so they do not burn themselves.
- There should be grab bars available in the shower and near the toilet.
- Rubber mats should be installed in the bathtub to avoid falls.
- For ease of access to the tub and shower, they should get a shower chair and a raised toilet seat.
Due to forgetfulness, there is a chance of carbon monoxide poisoning in seniors. Here are some tips to prevent it:
- Always double check that the stove is off before leaving the house as carbon monoxide does not have a smell.
- You should have carbon monoxide detectors near all bedrooms, and they should be tested regularly to ensure their effectiveness.
Medications can be especially dangerous for seniors if they are handled improperly. Here are some ways you can keep your senior loved one safe:
- All medications should be kept in their original containers so they don’t get mixed up.
- The pharmacy can put large-print labels on the medication so they are easier to read.
- All medications should be taken in a well-lit room so the labels can be seen easier.
- Bring all your pill bottles with you to your healthcare provider’s appointments so he or she can look at them and make sure you are taking them correctly.
Products for Cleaning
Seniors should read the labels clearly before using cleaning products. This will help avoid harmful substances mixing which can cause poisoning. Here is something to remember when it comes to cleaning products:
- Ammonia, bleach, and other cleaning liquids should not be mixed as they can cause deadly gases.
There are some things that can be done to keep your senior loved one safe in their homes from those who may want to hurt them. Here are a few things you can do to help them:
- All windows and doors should always be locked.
- When they are alone, they should never let a stranger in.
- Any offers made by a salesperson over the phone should be discussed with a friend or a family member.
- No personal info should be shared with other people, including bank information, passwords, etc.
- Any offers, awards, or prizes should have written information that can be reviewed first and they should discuss with friends or family before responding.
- There should be no pressure to make a purchase, make donations etc. Any of these things should be discussed with a friend or a family member first.
Are you in need of in-home care for your senior loved one? Assisting Hands can help. Our highly skilled and compassionate caregivers will respectfully provide your loved one with companionship while assisting them with their daily needs. Our in-home care services will allow your loved one to be cared for in the comfort of their home. If you have loved ones in Collegeville, King of Prussia, Limerick, Norristown, West Norriton, PA or surrounding areas who could benefit from senior care, make sure to give us a call today at (610) 795-2896 for more information.