How to Provide a Safe Home Environment for the Elderly
With more and more of the elderly population opting to age in place, there becomes increasing concern on the part of family caregivers about the safety of the home. Making sure the home environment is modified to be safer is important in not only decreasing physical hazards but also in reducing the stress levels experienced by both the caregiver and the senior, points out AgingCare.
And because abilities are constantly changing, senior home care must be adapted to meet those needs with the progression of their condition. It’s important to anticipate and address all physical and mental health risks in order to prevent accidents as well as caregiver burnout.
Elderly home care can go a long way toward ensuring your loved one’s safety while in the home. But how can you help as a family caregiver? What about from the senior’s perspective? How can they keep themselves safe as well?
Protect Against Fire Hazards
- If a fire breaks out in the home, don’t try to put it out. Leave the residence and call 911.
- When cooking, don’t wear loose clothes or long-sleeved shirts.
- Replace appliances with fraying or damaged electrical cords.
- Don’t overload sockets and extension cords.
- Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and replace the batteries every six months.
- Don’t leave candles burning in an empty room.
- Place space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, curtains, and bedding.
- Place non-skid mats for shower floors and bathtubs for added traction.
- Install a shower chair and handheld shower heads for easier bathing.
- Make sure water temperatures are comfortable. To prevent scalding, set the water heater thermostat at or lower than 120° F.
- Use contrasting colors for seniors with vision challenges. For instance, it can be difficult for seniors to distinguish a white toilet in an all-white bathroom. Use a brightly colored toilet seat and lid to make it stand out.
- Install grab bars in the shower stall and next to the toilet.
Properly Store Medications and Cleaning Products
- Keep medications in original containers that are clearly labeled.
- Ask the pharmacist to use large-print labels on all medications so they are easier to read.
- Take all medications at the same time each day, in a well-lit room so you can better inspect the labels.
- Don’t mix bleach, ammonia and other liquids together when cleaning, as they can create deadly gases.
- For those with walking or balance issues, or a history of falls, ask a healthcare provider for a fall risk assessment and to develop an exercise program specifically geared to fall prevention.
- Wear a bracelet or necklace alarm in the event a fall occurs that will call emergency services.
- Take your time answering the phone. Many falls occur when seniors try to rush to answer a call. Carry your cell phone in your pocket or just let the person leave a message.
- Wear non-slip footwear if your home has many smooth floors.
- Use a cane or a walker rather than hold onto walls and furniture.
Both caregivers and seniors can heed the above tips to create a safer home environment.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
Our Gettysburg home care services can ensure the safety of your elderly parent or other loved one. To learn more about our homemaker and personal care services, contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.