When an aging parent wants to remain living in their own home, it’s important to make sure they’re safe when they’re alone. Here is what you should pay attention to when creating a safe home for seniors.
Avoid Fire Hazards
Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors monthly. Replace the batteries twice a year. Remove any candles from the household. It’s easy to light a candle and then forget to extinguish it. Make sure all electric cords are in good shape and not frayed or damaged. Minimize your loved one’s use of space heaters. If they insist on using a space heater, help them place it at least three feet away from bedding, furniture, and drapes. Choose a heater with a timer so it will shut itself off.
Create a Safe Home for Seniors by Minimizing Hazards
Falling is one of the leading reasons seniors become injured. Throw rugs shouldn’t be used on hardwood floors. They make it too easy to slip. Declutter to get rid of excess belongings. Clear items from pathways and on stairs. Don’t run extension cords across floors. Encourage seniors to wear non-slip footwear.
Make Emergency Numbers Easy to Find
One of the most effective ways to make a home safe for seniors is to make sure they know how to access the correct numbers in an emergency. A simple phone with larger numbers will be easier for an elderly person to use.
Post all emergency numbers next to land-line phones and on the back of their cell phone. List numbers for their doctor, emergency contacts, and poison control. Program these numbers on speed-dial.
Make the Bathroom Part of a Safe Home for Seniors
A bathroom is one of the most common places for falls. Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower. Check the home’s water heater thermostat and keep it at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent accidental scalding.
If funds allow it, replace the bathtub with a walk-in version. Use rubber bathtub mats and place a bathing chair in the tub.
Address Any Bedroom Dangers to Create a Safe Home for Seniors
If the mattress in the bedroom is older or sagging, replace it with a firm one. This will make it easier for your loved one to get in and out of bed. Add a grab bar near the bed that extends from the ceiling to the floor.
Does the Home Have Adequate Lighting?
Making a home safe for seniors requires proper lighting. Eyesight deteriorates as we age. Below are a few recommended changes:
- Install improved light fixtures with brighter bulbs.
- Replace burned-out bulbs throughout the home.
- Install motion detection lights outside and indoors.
- Inspect each room looking for dark areas and add lamps or wall-mounted push lights.
- Use nightlights to illuminate hallways in the dark.
Is the Kitchen Safe?
Make the kitchen safer by putting items within their reach. The living space should not require the use of ladders or step stools. Make sure it’s obvious which is the hot faucet and which is the cold faucet by using color-coding. Use slip-proof mats around the sink and food-prep areas.