One of the biggest concerns as your parents get older is ensuring their safety. They want to remain as independent as possible for as long as they can, but you worry about them managing around the house by themselves.
Fortunately, almost any home can be made safer and more senior-friendly with the right modifications.
Here are the top safety hazards in the home for the elderly and some tips for how you can help your parent avoid them.
It can be hard to accept that your parent who always seemed so independent and in control of everything when you were younger might need additional help now. There are some changes that come with the aging process that can put seniors at risk for injuries. These include:
Not every senior will experience these, but those that do may have trouble with activities that they used to complete with ease. This could include bathing, cleaning, or home maintenance.
Seniors may also be more likely to experience serious consequences if they do have a fall or injury.
Seniors might not realize that the home they have been living in for years may no longer be safe for them. They may be resistant to making improvements even though those changes might allow them to live independently for longer.
It can be a difficult discussion, but worthwhile to start slowly preparing your parent’s home before a fall or an injury takes place. Addressing these safety hazards will allow your senior parent to stay independent (with a little help) for longer in the home that they love.
With aging can come a decrease in balance and an increase in the risk of falls. Cluttered floors are a major tripping hazard for seniors. Some tips for preventing this include:
Fires are a potentially deadly hazard in any home, but seniors living alone are at special risk. Health issues can keep them from being able to adequately prevent or respond to a fire in their home.
Some fire safety tips for seniors include:
Your aging parent may also need assistance in revising their fire safety plan to reflect changing abilities. This could mean moving a bedroom to the first floor if they have mobility issues or getting a bed shaker connected to the smoke alarm if they have hearing loss.
If your parent is taking multiple medications for different health conditions, they may be at risk of confusing their prescriptions. Here are some tips for preventing medication mix-ups:
Keeping the house well-lit can help prevent many of the other hazards on this list. Assist your parent to replace any burnt-out light bulbs and consider installing new light fixtures in dimly lit areas of the home.
Make sure that light switches are easily accessible and use nightlights to reduce the risk of disorientation or falls during nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Bathrooms are one of the most common sites of injury in the home for seniors. Help your parent stay safe by:
You might not realize it, but isolation is a safety hazard for seniors. It affects their physical health and mental health and can prevent loved ones from getting help sooner.
Many adult children find out during visits that their parent is no longer able to meet their basic needs. You may notice that your parent is neglecting bathing or cleaning due to physical limitations. Or your parent may be losing weight because they aren’t able to prepare healthy meals for themselves anymore.
You can help prevent isolation by visiting as regularly as possible, having a home caregiver for companionship, and utilizing a transportation service to help them get out of the house.
The medical equipment that your parent uses to enhance their health can also harm them if used improperly. Here are some ways you can keep medical equipment safe for your parent to use:
Don’t forget your parent’s outdoor walkways when you’re helping them modify their home for safety. Your parent will appreciate having a clear path to get the mail or the paper each day.
It can be difficult to balance your parent’s need for independence as they age with your desire for them to be safe. By avoiding these top safety hazards in the home for the elderly you’ll go a long way toward helping them stay in their home safely.
Parentis Health is here to help you and your parent. With services such as home caregivers, home health nurses, and in-home physical and occupational therapy, we can help you support your parent’s independence as they age.
Contact us today and let us show you how we can help take care of your loved one.