Aging comes with a lot of physical and psychological changes, making safety and security an important concern for seniors. In fact, data from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) shows that every 11 seconds an elderly person is rushed to an emergency room due to a fall.
Here are some safety measures you can follow to reduce the risk of fall-related accidents and unintentional injuries inside your or your loved one’s home:
Provide adequate lighting
Most seniors already have poor vision. Some are even afflicted with mild to severe cases of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and dry eyes. Living with these eye conditions makes it hard for them to see clearly.
If you want to keep your elderly loved ones safe while they are moving around inside your home, install light bulbs all throughout the house even in areas that they don’t frequent. Replace any busted light bulbs and ensure that the house has even lighting with accessible ways to turn it on.
Secure the stairs
As you age, you’ll have a higher risk of developing ailments that might affect your mobility. You might develop arthritis, making it harder for you to climb up and go down the stairs and increasing your risk of a fall accident.
To prevent these instances, consider installing low-pile carpet runners in the stairs. Carpet runners will help make the stairs less slippery and promote stable footing. It is also important that all stairs in your home have railings for additional support.
Fall-proof the bathroom
Older adults tend to have weaker joints and less stable footing that can result in balance and mobility problems, especially in a hazard-prone environment like the bathroom. To help prevent slips and falls, install essential shower equipment for seniors such as shower stools and transfer chairs to make bathing safer and easier.
Grab bars, especially near the toilet seat and shower room, and rubber mats on the bathroom floor can also provide extra support and traction.
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Secure the kitchen
The kitchen is another area in your home that poses a great risk of injury among elderly people. Common kitchen injuries include knife cuts, slips and falls, burns, and food poisoning.
To prevent these kitchen accidents, see to it that knives are properly stored in a knife rack and are sharpened well. Dull knives cause more cut accidents than sharp ones since using them requires you to exert more force when cutting food.
If there are water, grease, or food spills on the floor, wipe and clean them immediately. If an elderly person wants to cook, remind them not to wear any loose clothing that may catch on cabinet drawers or accidentally touch open flames by the stove.
Label food ingredients properly for easier identification of ingredients and to prevent food poisoning. Don’t store any cleaning products and hazardous chemicals in the kitchen area. If it can’t be helped, however, make sure that the cabinet where they are stored is locked.
Prepared for an emergency
Always have a list of emergency numbers handy including the doctor’s office, the fire department, the local emergency hotline, and the police department. Display these emergency numbers in conspicuous areas in the house such as the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Prepare a well-stocked first aid kit as well with items including maintenance medications, burn ointment, and wound cleaning supplies.
Caring for a senior requires special considerations regarding safety, however, caregivers should also avoid being too restrictive. Allowing seniors their independence can help to boost their self-esteem and well-being.