Older adults face their own unique challenges in the home. Due to the aging process, adults may face declining vision, hearing, smell and touch, bone density, balance, and other abilities. The decline in these everyday functions make maneuvering around the home increasingly difficult for older adults.
Caregiver stress reports that up to 85% of seniors haven’t prepared at all for the aging process. This type of statistic is alarming. By not preparing, older adults are leaving themselves susceptible to unnecessary risks, many of which can be prevented. With the proper game plan and foresight, the home can be safety-proofed to prevent any accidents or disasters.
General Safety Tips
Many older adults live by themselves, and they want to retain this sense of independence. To do so, they must be provided with the right information, resources, and habits that will enable them to safely and peacefully reside in their homes. The most common accidents older adults face are falls, burns, poisoning, and criminals who target them.
Each room of the home provides unique challenges. Safeguarding the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and other areas will be different. The following are general home safety tips that should be kept in mind:
- Purchase a medical alert pendant
- Install a home security system
- Equip smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- No smoking in bed or near oxygen tanks
- Rugs, cords, toys, shoes and other home debri should be cleared from walkways and bedrooms
- Don’t stand on chairs or ladders, use stools
- All medicines should be labeled correctly
- Check with doctors or pharmacists before mixing prescription with non-prescription
- Keep heaters three feet away from everything, especially objects that burn
Talk to family before purchasing anything from phone salespeople. Always investigate and vette the caller. This includes contracts and donations.
Safety in the Bathroom
The bathroom poses it’s own threats, and the bathroom is especially a location where an older adult will find themselves alone. It’s possible to be injured without anyone noticing that an event has occurred. For this reason, if an older adult lives with other people, it’s encouraged that they only use the bathroom when others are present. If the older adult lives alone, a medical alert pendant will suffice to keep them connected with others.
Bathroom tips to implement:
- Aids should be installed in bath shower, and near toilets
- Door locks should open from both sides
- Cold and hot faucets should be marked clearly
- Water heater should be 120-degrees or lower to avoid scalding water
- Place rubber mats in bathroom to prevent slipping
The kitchen poses risks for anyone, whether they are an older adult or not. Older adults should abide by kitchen safety tips that are given to everyone, but they should take extra precaution if they live alone. Older adults must also remember that their reflexes may be slower, and cook accordingly.
Tips to remember:
- Floors should be cleaned and removed of clutter
- Cooking areas must be well lit
- On and off positions marked clearly on all appliances
- Safely store sharp knives and other dangerous equipment
- Don’t wear loose fitting clothing while cooking
- Never leave the kitchen will cooking
- Staying Safe is a Habit
Staying Safe is a Habit
Older adults need not be overwhelmed by reading the tips on this list or by working to implement them. In the beginning stages they made need to recall some information, but once they begin living with these safety tips in mind, they will become second nature.