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Six Tips on Home Safety for the Elderly
These falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among this age group, and 6 out of 10 falls occur in the home. With more and more seniors living independently these days, it is imperative that home safety precautions are followed and fully understood. Let’s examine the top six safety tips that you can focus on to help make your aging family member or friend’s home safer:
- Remove obstacles — While this may seem obvious, many falls happen as the result of too many loose household items around the home. Items like handbags, umbrellas, clothing, mail, boxes, and small furnishings can cause serious injuries and falls. Clean up the clutter and the home instantly becomes safer.
- Invest in a medical alert device — While there might be a phone nearby if a fall occurs, a medical alert device can get help a push of a button away. Consider a unit that allows other authorized individuals to keep track of and monitor the health and well-being of the individual. It’s also important to find a unit that works inside and outside the home, whether the user is gardening outside or driving around town the unit can get help when needed.
- Grab rails are essential — In areas that may become slippery, consider installing grab rails or additional handles to help prevent falls. While bathrooms are an obvious area, the kitchen, near the bed, or in the garage are other smart areas to install handles.
- Light up that house — Poor lighting has likely contributed to thousands of preventable falls over the years. Invest in quality lighting to help illuminate dark hallways or the corner of a room. Place a bright table lamp near the side of the bed and make sure that you have working light switches on the top and bottom of each flight of stairs in the house.
- Hire someone to help with maintenance — In the colder areas of the country, slips and spills can occur when an elderly homeowner is attempting to clear snow from the front steps or sidewalk. This cold, icy condition is the perfect setting for a debilitating fall. Hire someone to do this work, or, if it is too expensive to do so, see if a volunteer organization or a neighbor can help.
- Tack down carpet and stair runners — Stairs are dangerous enough when bare, but add a strip of carpet down the middle and you might make the situation even more dangerous. Improperly fitted stair runners can pose a serious trip hazard; keep that in mind before installing carpet on the staircase or take precautions afterwards.
A senior’s home should be a place of peace, rest, and comfort. More and more seniors are remaining highly active beyond their 70’s and 80’s, it pays to safeguard against the types of injuries that are prevalent in the home.