Many seniors desire the ability to live at home for as long as possible. Often they would like to live in the same home they have lived in for years and possibly even raised a family in. Providing senior care at home is achievable. One of the first steps is making sure the home environment is still safe as the needs of the senior changes over time.
Bedrooms and bathrooms tend to be the most unsafe areas of the home for seniors with falls being the most common home accidents for older adults. Conducting an annual safety check is important to help prevent falls and allow seniors to remain at home. Here are some suggestions for things to evaluate during a safety check.
Look for throw rugs or torn carpet which can create a tripping hazard. Remove or attach to the floor with double-sided tape, glue or carpet staples to minimize the hazard.
Verify access to a telephone is available for night time emergencies. Consider installing a cordless phone, cell phone or emergency alert system.
Verify bed height is appropriate. It is too low if the knees are above the hips when sitting on the bed and is too high if the legs do not touch the floor when sitting. Add risers to raise the height. Remove the bed frame to lower the height.
If electrical cords present a tripping hazard because they run along the walking path use extension cords to run them behind furniture and rearrange furniture as needed.
Add grab bars near the shower and toilet to prevent falls.
If the bottom of the tub is slippery use a rubber mat or adhesives on the bottom of the tub to reduce the risk of a fall.
Check that the tub and toilet are at the correct height. If the toilet is too low add a raised toilet seat.
Consider using a medication organizer for pills and setting it on the countertop so it can be easily reached.
Do all stairwells have sturdy handrails? Ideally handrails should be located on both sides of every set of stairs. Consider having them installed or replaced if they are not present or not sturdy.
Is emergency contact information easily accessible by the senior if needed? Consider posting this information in multiple locations throughout the home.
Check for working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on all levels of the home.
If taking care of oneself has become a challenge for a senior you love, it is worthwhile to look into in home care options. Advantages of in home care include:
- Hygiene assistance
- Medication reminders
- Light housekeeping
- Meal planning and cooking
- Complete home safety evaluation performed by an occupational therapist
- Physical therapy exercises
- Peace of mind for you and your loved one
Having help at home can reduce the risk of accidents or injuries and extend the length of time a senior is able to continue to reside in their own home. For more information about at home care contact us. Home Matters provides quality care service.