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A Caregiver’s Home Safety Checklist for Seniors
If you’re in charge of caring for a senior, keep the following home safety tips in mind
As a caregiver of a senior, it is incumbent upon you to provide the absolute best in care – and to safeguard the aging individual against the inherent dangers in the home. While there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of injury, caregivers can follow the tips below to keep the risk as low as possible:
- When it comes to injuries, falls are the biggest threat to seniors today. One in three seniors suffer from a fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of both non-fatal and fatal injuries among those aged 65 and over. To minimize this risk, inspect carpet, rugs, and stair runners for fraying edges or loose sections. Stair runners are especially dangerous due to their ability to loosen over time and the severity of a fall that involves a staircase. Keep floors and stairways clutter free, and tie up extension cords to minimize another common trip hazard.
- Home safety also extends beyond basic trips and falls and includes personal safety considerations, too. Seniors tend to lead more active lifestyles these days, many spend a substantial amount of time alone or outdoors, and this can create a dangerous situation if help is needed right away. Seniors should be outfitted with a personal medical alert device that can work inside and outside the home, can summon help, and transmit the whereabouts of the wearer. Many of these units are also able to send updates to authorized individuals so that seniors can be monitored throughout the day. Those who elect to use a medical alert device are often able to enjoy more freedom to move about and remain active than those who choose not to.
- Take the time to turn the water heater in the home to 120-degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This will help prevent scalds that can become dangerous if not treated appropriately.
- Lighting is an important component of home safety, for two reasons. First, proper lighting, especially on the outside of the home, can act as a deterrent to those who may be thinking of breaking into the home, committing vandalism, or theft. On the inside, good quality, non-glare bulbs can brighten a room and help illuminate dark corners, staircases, and hallways that may pose trip and fall hazards to seniors.
Taking care of seniors means more than completing housework, managing food preparation, and helping with the day to day living needs of an aging individual. Rather, caregivers are charged with creating the absolute best living experience possible for the elderly person, and a safe and secure home is an important piece of that puzzle. By following the steps above, and by integrating your own best practices, you’ll be able to create the absolute best living situation for your elderly family member or friend.