Guide to Senior Home Safety

November 21, 2018 by

With so many seniors choosing to grow old in their own home, it is more important than ever to ensure changes are made to keep their home as safe as possible. Whether it is for yourself or your parents, adapting your home to accommodate the changing needs of aging family can help you avoid the dangers of accidents or crime. There are many contributing factors that can increase the risk of accidents at home for seniors, including vision and hearing challenges, and balance or mobility. Here are some ideas to keep yourself or your loved ones safe.

young nurse giving guide to old lady

Be Prepared for Emergencies

It is very important to ensure you, or your loved ones are prepared for an emergency. The safest way to do this is to use a medical pendant or medical panic button, which can be worn around the neck or kept in a pocket. This will allow you to have immediate contact with an emergency service that can dispatch the appropriate help in the case of an emergency. These pendants can work up to 300 feet away from your home, which means could you be outside doing gardening, coming home from walking the dog, or even bringing home groceries, and your emergency call will be answered.

Be Cautious with New Relationships

Seniors are often easy targets for con artists looking for access to money and belongings. Knowing what is happening in your loved one’s life is the first step to protect them and keeping them informed of the dangers of meeting with strangers will also help. You should try to cautiously vet anyone who might be assisting in their care, from housekeepers to care-givers. Make sure they avoid answering the door when home alone and especially allowing strangers to enter the home on the premise of having to check something in the house or selling something. Smart doorbells are an excellent option as they allow you to see who is at the door and even speak to someone through an intercom.

Avoid Break-Ins

Criminals will also target seniors for violent crimes or break-ins. It is important to avoid a predictable schedule that lets potential intruders know when you or your loved ones will be away from the home. This is especially important if they are leaving the home alone. To protect your home, you want to ensure that all doors and windows are locked, and that locks are working properly.

Ensure that the exterior of the home is well lit and that the garden remains well maintained. For example, a window that is covered by an overgrown bush is a vulnerable spot for intruders to enter, even if it is at the front of the home. Proper lighting is also a must for all exterior doorways, which will also help avoid trips and falls.

Security systems can also help keep you and your loved ones safe. There are many options to keep your property safe, including security cameras, and smart locks that allow you to lock the door from any room in the house, even if you are not at home.

Fire Precautions

Fire can become an increased threat threat to the elderly for a number of reasons. First, memory issues can lead to kitchen fires if someone is cooking and forget they’ve left something on the stove. This can also happen with candles, cigarettes, or even leaving a fire in the fireplace unattended.

Another issue with fire is that with a diminished sense of smell, sight, and hearing, it can be easy to miss warning signs that something is wrong. To assist with this, ensure you have fully operational smoke detectors that create both a loud warning and emergency lighting to allow you or your loved ones to escape the home safely.

You can also make sure that no danger is presented by common fire hazards such as damaged electrical cords, overused electrical sockets with outdated extension cords, and older appliances such as dryers and space heaters.

Have easy access to fire extinguishers in the kitchen and near fireplaces and make sure that all doorways and halls are clear, so it is easy to leave the home in a hurry without facing any obstacles.

Avoid Falls

Falls are one of the most common accidents that occur in the home. There are many ways to help avoid the chance of accidents including:

  • Using non-slip footwear when at home
  • Having adequate lighting in the stairways and halls
  • Keeping all common pathways clear of boxes and mess to avoid trip hazards
  • Proper banisters for all stairs both inside and out
  • Non-skid tape can be used on slippery stairs or floors
  • Remove area rugs that can cause a slipping hazard
  • Install bars in the bathtub area and by the toilet
  • Make sure the bathtub has a safe, slip free surface

Poisoning

Poisoning can also pose a threat for seniors. One of the easiest ways to avoid poisoning is to ensure there are working carbon monoxide detectors in the home. You can also go through your parents cleaning products and ensure they are stored separately from food items. Those that must be stored in the kitchen can be labelled clearly with homemade, large easy to read labels.

Go through their medicine cabinet to make sure all bottles are clearly marked and install bright lighting in the bathroom, so they can read their medications easily. Avoid keeping strong cleaning products in the house, especially ones that can react with each other such as bleach and ammonia.

Make sure their fridge is kept clean and up to date. Help them by checking expiry dates on their food to avoid the potential of food poisoning and always make sure their home is stocked with healthy, non-perishable foods they can access should they be unable to leave the home due to bad weather.

Keep in Touch

Make sure they can keep in touch by giving them a cell phone or home line with a phone they can always keep nearby. Keep in mind that they might not think of details like keeping their phones charged. This is one of the reasons the medical alert pendant is a good idea for seniors. You can also ensure their phones are charged and batteries are working. Finally, let them know your phone number is on the fridge so they can always reach you should they need you. Most important of all, check in with them often, not only to make sure they are okay but also so they know they are loved.

For more information about how to help keep your senior loved ones safe call Canadian Security Professionals at 1-877-229-7252 or contact us here.

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