Given the option, most older adults would prefer to remain in their private residences for as long as possible. But age-related changes affecting vision, strength, balance, and memory can transform the average senior’s home into an unfamiliar – and sometimes hazardous –landscape. As a concerned party, these home care modification tips will help create a safer, more senior-friendly environment for your aging loved ones so you can sleep better at night.
Prioritize Fall Prevention
Falls are the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65+, while most fall-related accidents occur in the victim’s home. Age-related changes such as declining hearing and vision, bone density loss, and balance issues can all place independent seniors at risk.
Keep yours safe by taking these fall-prevention steps:
- Ensure that all areas of the home are well-illuminated, notably above stairways
- Eliminate trip-and-fall hazards such as clutter, electric cords, rugs, and small furniture from pathways
- Install handrails near bathing and toileting areas and along stairways
- Place non-skid strips or mats on tile or wood surfaces that may get wet
- Get them a cane or walker instead of holding onto furniture or walls
Eliminate Fire Hazards
Fires are a risk in any senior’s home, especially when oxygen is in use. Here’s how to reduce your fire risk:
- Place smoke detectors with fresh batteries around the home
- Never leave unattended candles or fires burning
- Avoid smoking or open flames near oxygen tanks
- Keep an operational fire extinguisher on every floor
- Check appliances for frayed power cords
- Leave at least three feet between heaters and anything flammable
Assess Accidental Poisoning Risks
This home safety issue most often affects seniors who take a lot of different medications. Here’s how to keep yours from becoming another accidental poisoning statistic:
- Install high-quality carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas
- Never heat the home with a stove or oven
- Have their furnace inspected every autumn by a certified HVAC technician
- Do not mix cleaning products that contain bleach or ammonia
- Keep medications labeled and organized in their original containers
- Only hand out or refill medications as directed
Modify the Bathroom
With its slippery tile floors, confined spaces, and sharp corners, a bathroom can be a dangerous place for the average senior. Reduce the likelihood of a bathroom mishap by placing nonskid tape inside the tub and a nonslip bathmat outside the tub. Install grab bars on the wall next to the toilet and in the shower/tub area. If the poor balance is an issue, get your loved one a walk-in tub, shower seat, and handheld shower wand.
Adjust Their Bed Height
Getting in and out of bed can be hazardous for those with limited mobility. Find your loved one a bed that’s the perfect height for them to negotiate safely. If they tend to fall out of bed, position it as low to the floor as possible. If your senior uses a wheelchair, try to match the height of the bed with the height of the wheelchair’s seat.
Don’t Forget About the Kitchen
Discourage your loved one from climbing on stepstools by arranging all foodstuffs and cookware within arm’s length. Be sure to arrange kitchen chairs and other trip hazards safely out of the way. Finding them a pair of shoes with nonslip soles will help keep them from sliding on spill-dampened floors. And finally, be sure that the fridge and pantry are well-stocked with plenty of nutritious foods and beverages.
Hire Them a Personal Assistant
When you’re busy or live far away, another way to ensure your loved one remains safe and comfortable is by hiring a “personal assistant” from a reputable home care provider. In addition to recommending home safety modifications, a professional caregiver can perform these services:
- Personal Care
- Light Housekeeping
- Medication Reminders
- Meal Planning
Your Reliable Senior Home Care Partner in Washoe County
When you or a loved one need assistance, contact Lend A Hand in Washoe County. We are a fully licensed and insured home care provider with highly trained professionals who are experts at delivering the nurturing that your loved one deserves. While serving as an extended family in your senior’s home, our compassionate caregivers can perform duties like respite care, personal care, dementia care, companionship, medication reminders, and even live-in and 24-hour care.
Our agency’s focus is maintaining your loved one’s quality of life, along with their dignity, self-esteem, and independence. For your added convenience, all our in-home services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! Please visit Lend A Hand online now to learn more about us or schedule a FREE initial consultation for a senior in our service area.