Homeowners who have elderly members – those who are at least 65 years old – in their family need to implement some home safety tips to help prevent common household accidents such as falls and other issues. Millions of older people experience accidents in or around the home every year. Many of the victims suffered head injuries or hip fractures and were brought to the hospital for treatment.
To help prevent older family members and loved ones from suffering such accidents and avoiding costly hospital expenses, we present a list of comprehensive elderly home safety tips that you can adopt in the home. These tips are generalized and you should select those that are appropriate for your specific needs.
General Elderly Home Safety Tips
– Refrain from smoking when alone or in bed. Older folks may fall asleep more easily while smoking and it’s a leading cause of fires in the home.
– Older people are advised to practice getting up slowly after sitting or lying down. They should make sure that they have regained their balance before standing up.
– Elderly people should refrain from standing on ladders or chairs.
– Older family members should wear proper fitting shoes with low heels to avoid a fall or slippage.
– An appropriately measured walking aid should be provided to elderly members to ensure that they have proper balance while walking.
General Tips for Homeowners with Elderly Family Members
– Install a fire extinguisher and smoke detector in strategic areas on every floor of your house.
– Eliminate or tack down all rugs to avoid older members from slipping if they step on them.
– Refrain from using slippery wax on floors.
– You should ensure that all spills are wiped up immediately to avoid slips.
– Install sturdy handrails for all stairs inside and outside your house to be used as support by older folks. If necessary, you can install a stair lift.
– Ensure that all electrical or telephone cords are not present in traffic areas to avoid tripping hazards.
– Replace all lighting with non-glare 100 watt or equivalent LED bulbs to properly light all areas.
– You should provide sufficient lighting in all staircases. Light switches on both the top and bottom of the staircases should be installed.
– You should use a non-slip surface on all steps of any staircases.
– You can purchase a medical alert or a buddy system as an additional safety measure for your elderly family members that allows them to contact emergency services.
– Install a home surveillance or security camera system to help in monitoring your elderly family and the valuables in the home.
– Ensure that a list of emergency numbers is present at every phone in the house. Make sure that the numbers are listed in large and bright colors so that they can be easily read by all family members.
Benefits of Installing a Video Surveillance or Security Camera System for Children and/or Elderly Family Members
– You can remotely check up on children and older family members conveniently from an office computer, smartphone, and tablet computer while at work or away from your house.
– You will be notified by your system when it detects risks in your house like the presence of carbon monoxide, smoke, and water leaks.
– The system can be used by elderly members to notify you in the case of emergencies such as falls or accidents.
– Some security systems can also notify medical emergency agencies for immediate assistance when professionaly monitored.
* Maintain your kitchen floors cleanly and keep them uncluttered.
* Ensure sufficient lighting in all work areas so that elderly members can clearly see what they are doing.
* Install clear, large and brightly-colored “on” and “off” marks on all appliances so that older members can see them clearly and not incorrectly use them.
* Separate the storage areas for foods and hazardous items.
* Place sharp knives in a rack to secure them.
* Advise elderly family members to avoid wearing long or loose clothing while working in the kitchen, particularly when cooking over the stove to avoid catching fire.
* Kettles and crockpots should have automatic shut-off features.
* Store the heavier kitchen supplies at waist level and never overhead.
* Ensure that food is rotated regularly and their expiration dates should also be monitored.
* You should regularly dispose of any old, expired, or used medicines.
* Family members should never use prescription drugs that are prescribed for other people.
* Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if it is okay to mix alcohol with any drug prescribed to elderly people and monitor their intake.
* Seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist when mixing prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs.
* Ensure that medicines are labeled clearly to avoid confusion and ingestion of the wrong medication.
* Conduct regular checks of medicines with family members and their doctors or pharmacists to ensure that they still apply and any time a new medication is prescribed.
* Ensure that elderly family members are taking the right medicine and their correct dosage.
* Always leave a light on in the bathroom used at night time.
* Install the appropriate bathroom handrails securely on the bath/shower stall walls and on the side of the toilet.
* Use only skid-proof materials on the tub and bathroom flooring to prevent slippage. Ensure also that the bath mat has a non-slip bottom.
* You should provide clear signs/marks on cold and hot faucets to avoid scalding of children or the elderly.
* Install door locks that can be opened both from the outside and inside of the bathroom.
* Set the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below to avoid scalds.
* You should ensure that elderly family members take a bath only when someone is home, if possible.
Nothing is more important than family and having elderly family members as part of the household is a fortunate situation and part of a loving extended family. However, they do require a few extra precautions and home preparations to keep them safe and sound. Apply as many of the above tips to your home or the home of your elderly family members and give them safety and peace of mind in their golden years.