Home Safety Made Easy

Jun 8, 2016

Home Safety Made Easy

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Although many seniors choose to move to a senior care community once they reach a certain age, some opt to stay in their homes. In a familiar setting, any care received could be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. No matter the frequency of in-home assistance, it’s still very important to keep the household safe and functional at all times.

Although a home may be familiar, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be hazardous to older people. Everyday tasks can become difficult to perform the older we get, however, they shouldn’t be made dangerous by the condition of one’s living space.

Making Home Safety for Seniors Easy

There are many different factors to consider when increasing the safety of a home, especially since one size may not fit all. That being said, there are things everyone can do to make a senior living space fit for daily life.

Reducing Clutter and Maintaining Mobility

First, it can be best to focus on areas of the home where there is the most activity or traffic. Keep these spaces open and clutter-free, allowing unobstructed movement and ease of travel. If there are any rugs or loose carpets, be sure to secure them from moving or slipping, especially if a walker or canes are used for mobility. Similarly, if you have hardwood floors it’s best to repair any loose floorboards immediately.

Make sure these areas are well lit and that any sharp edges on furniture receive the necessary modifications to avoid injury in case of a fall. Being able to see a clear path is important at all times of day, especially during the night. This is particularly important for flights of stairs or any other varying levels of the home. Having the proper handrails and guards installed are dire to maintaining a safe living space.

Bathroom Safety Tips

Another one of the main spaces to focus on safety is in the bathroom – an area that can be quite hazardous for seniors. Mainly, you’ll want to secure any mats or rugs from slipping when wet. Keeping surfaces dry and maintaining traction is the best way to prevent falls and other injuries.

If your bath area is difficult to enter and exit, you may want to consider a more mobile option like a walk-in tub or a shower level to the floor. Additionally, placing rails and different grips around the bathroom can help to provide support for transferring between different portions of the room.

Outdoor Safety Factors and Considerations

Besides maintaining the indoor safety of a home, there are plenty of things to consider outside as well. As always, be cautious of steps leading to and from the house. Regularly clearing leaves, cut grass, sand, stones, and snow from your pathways are necessary steps to take throughout the year.

Installing motion-sensing lights can also be a great way to ensure that moving about in the dark is as safe and easy as possible. In that same consideration, installing a security system can provide you with a peace of mind, as well as a means of contacting emergency personnel in case of an injury or intrusion.

Making sure your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fully functional is another huge safety consideration. Usually, the blinking light will tell you if the device is in need of a new battery. If it does need to be replaced, don’t fumble with ladders and stepping stools – call someone, either a friend, a relative or a neighbor to help.

Each Home is Unique

Remember, not all of the hazards of a home are obvious to people who have been living in them for many years. If you are unsure whether your living space is safe or not, a professional consultation can help address any necessary changes.

Proper safety measures can make all the difference in how well you or your elderly loved one is able to live in the comfort of a familiar home. By addressing any concerns before they become real issues, families can rest assured that a living space is fit for a safe and happy retirement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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