Elderly safety is a growing concern for our aging loved ones. We want them to be able to maintain their independence, but this requires certain adjustments in their homes and lifestyles.
Accidental injuries in the home are three times as frequent in the elderly. Most often the causes are things we tend to overlook, yet can easily remedy.
By making some changes in the homes of our older loved ones, we will help to ensure their safety, comfort, and security.
To try to stick to “the facts, ma’am, just the facts”, here are some of our tips for elderly safety:
The bathroom is the number one place for injuries in the elderly. Here are some safety tips:
- Install grab bars in the shower/bath area
- Install raised toilet seats
- Install anti-scald faucets
- Make sure the water heater is no higher than 120 degrees
- Install non-skid runners on the shower/bath floor
- Try to avoid throw rugs, but they insist on keeping them,secure non-skid tape to the backs and secure them tothe floor
- Install the bathroom door so that it swings outward. If they do fall, the door will not be blocked.
- Install large handles which are easier to grip. You cantest this by clenching your fists and trying to turn on and off faucets.
- Install lever-type door knobs
Our vision often declines as we age, and many elderly safety and security issues can be avoided by implementing visual assists.
- Make sure your loved one has safe access to daylight. Uselighter weight curtains, open those drapes, put up those blinds 2. Install good-quality artificial lighting (day bulbs) thatare bright
- Increase the number of light bulbs/ light fixtures in the home
- Install photosensitive night lights near stairs, bathrooms, in the hallways, and bedrooms
- Install light switches with illuminating plates/switches
- Decorate glass doors to prevent collision and injury forthe visually impaired (or for those of us who are not paying attention!)
- Check lettering on switches, appliances, controls,thermostats. Replace worn markings or use permanentmarkers or labels to identify controls.
Living area safety:
- Install corner guards on furniture 2. Free pathways from extra furniture or clutter 3. Replace frayed or damaged electrical cords
- Secure electrical cords to wall with cord channels
- Make sure electrical cords do not run under carpets (fire hazard) nor have furniture standing on them
- Free-standing heaters should be 3-pronged and plugged into3-pronged outlets, placed out of pathway and away from flammable material
- Avoid the use of extension cords
- Clean chimney annually
- Install GFCI outlets
- Move appliances away from sinks
- Install task lights in the kitchen
- Equip kitchen with sturdy step stool with handle
- Supply non-toxic cleaning products and discard toxic products
Additional safety tips:
- Post emergency numbers, family contacts, and the streetaddress and phone number of the house at each phone. Use large print!
- For those with hearing loss, install doorbells, phones, and smoke alarms with lights that blink for visual cues
- Medications stored in original containers and clearly marked, easily read
- Store volatile chemicals outside of living area, preferably in high cabinet in garage, lids on tightly
While this is not an exhaustive list for elderly safety, it will get you a good start on keeping your family and loved ones safe.
A crucial part of elderly safety is having a Family Emergency Plan.
If you plan on hiring help to care for your loved one, please do a background check on the help. You can find information on your choices in our Background section.