6 Steps to Make Homes Safer for Seniors
Instead of moving to a retirement home, many seniors prefer to live at home with a live-in caregiver for a variety of reasons. The first is independence. Living on their own property can improve their emotional health. Studies show that this can also have a positive impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.
Many seniors associate the feeling of independence with self-worth. By living independently with the help of a live-in caregiver, seniors can live with more dignity.
One of the most common challenges seniors face is loneliness. Depression can lead to mental and physical health issues. With the right live-in caregiver, seniors also have the benefits of around-the-clock companionship and personal care.
On the other hand, some seniors feel less independent when living in a retirement home because many of their decisions are made for them. They also usually don’t have the benefits of one-on-one care.
Although there are many benefits to living at home with a live-in caregiver for seniors, safety can be a concern. Unlike a retirement facility, regular homes aren’t designed with safety prioritized for seniors. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to make a home safer for a senior. Remember to check in with them before making major decisions to respect their independence.
1. Improve Mobility
Falling and tripping is a common way for seniors to get hurt at home. Your first step should be to remove items that could be hazardous to their mobility. Start by clearing the floor. Move items lying on the floors such as magazines, books, newspapers, shoes and more to their proper places or simply give them away. Remove all throw rugs as they can be a fall hazard for seniors. Minimize the use of extension cords and make sure that they aren’t a fall hazard.
Make it easier for them to move around by removing unnecessary furniture such as coffee tables and stools. Likewise, remove loose and creaky old furniture.
A senior’s ability to travel can also be improved with the right transport chair. Aside from helping with evacuations, our chairs can also be used as transport chairs and can assist people with reduced mobility such as the elderly travel outside. Our chairs are lightweight. The ec1 model weighs only 12.5 kg or 27.5lbs while the ec2 weighs just 14.5kg or 32lbs. What’s more, they’re comfortable thanks to a solid padded seat and solid backrest.
2. Improve Fire Safety
At Evacuscape we know that fires are more dangerous for people with reduced mobility. Disabled and bedridden individuals account for 8% of all fire-related deaths and 2% of all fire-related injuries, while people over the age of 65 account for 18% of all fire-related deaths and 7% of all fire-related injuries in Canada. Statistically, such people are also more susceptible to fire-related injuries in the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, and the Middle East.
To help improve fire safety in homes for seniors, it’s important to have the right tools. Seniors can evacuate safely with a stair chair from Evacuscape, especially in a multistoried home such as an apartment or a house with more than one floor.
Our chairs can be easily storied near emergency exists and allow people to safely descend the stairs thanks to the speed reducing V belt track, lap safety belt and head restraint strap, and locking rear wheel castors. The chairs are well-built and can carry a person of up to 180 kg (400 lbs) safely down the stairs.
It’s also easy to learn how to use our chairs. They’re all shipped with an easy-to-follow training DVD. You can watch these videos to learn more about how our chairs work in French and English on our website.
Aside from an Evacuscape chair, you should also have working smoke and carbon detectors in the bedrooms, kitchen, and hallways. Make sure that the power sockets aren’t overloaded and that the extension cords are in good condition.
If your senior must use a space heater or a fireplace, then all safety precautions must be taken. The live-in caregiver should also be trained in fire safety. Tools such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets should be placed in different parts of the house.
Finally, laminate and print emergency numbers including emergency contacts in large and clear fonts and place them near the phone for easy access.
3. Improve Lighting
As people grow older their vision declines. Make sure that all bulbs in the house are operational and bright. Replace grimy old fixtures with new ones that are clearer. Visit the home at different hours of the day to assess the lighting.
4. Review the Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen
All rooms in the home must be safe, especially the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.
- Make sure that the mattress in the bedroom is firm enough to support a senior’s back. An old soft mattress may be difficult to get off for the elderly.
- Consider placing a water dispenser in the bedroom so seniors don’t have to go out of the bedroom in the middle of the night when thirsty.
- Install nightlights in the bathroom and bedroom.
- Place a grab bar and rubber mats in the bathroom.
- Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower that has a hand-held showerhead.
- Make sure that all items in the kitchen are easily reachable.
- Many seniors prefer gas stoves. However, electric stoves can be safer for multiple reasons. Encourage the use of electric appliances instead of open flame ones at home.
- Regularly check the fridge and throw away expired food.
- Keep only healthy food that seniors can easily chew.
5. Visit Them Regularly
Check-in with your senior to make sure that they’re safe and in good health. Give them a call, drop-in, or have a neighbour visit. When visiting a senior’s home, check to see if all safety measures are being followed.
6. Add Security Measures
Unfortunately, seniors are often targeted by scammers. Make sure that the senior is aware of con artists asking for money on the phone or the internet. To improve security at home, add a peephole on the front door and check to see if all locks are working. Instead of a peephole, you can also install a security camera for even better security.
While improving home safety for seniors can seem like a lot of effort, it’s worthwhile. By living safely home, seniors can feel happier, healthier, and more independent. With the right tools and precautions, you can make it easier for a senior to live at home.