As we age, many of us worry about whether we’ll be able to stay in our home. When the topic is discussed with our families and loved ones, the conversation often moves to safety. The primary concern is safety in the home. Use your budget for home upgrades and apply these tips to make a safe home for seniors.
The most common concern is the possibility of someone falling in the home. Falls are particularly dangerous for the elderly, but they can be avoided. Making a home safe for seniors by preventing falls requires a few simple things.
First, secure all floor coverings. Any rugs or carpeting that are loose should be attached to the floor. If they can’t be secured, they should be removed.
Next, check the condition of stairwells and handrails. Make sure that they are stable and secure, and install a stair lift if necessary. It can also be helpful to relocate certain things to the first floor of the home like laundry appliances or the bed.
Finally, clear the pathways. Remove unneeded furniture and other obstructions that make it difficult to navigate safely through the house.
Install Alarms When Creating a Safe Home for Seniors
With decreased mobility and a decline in eyesight and hearing, it is more important than ever that we have good alarm systems in a home for seniors.
Especially if you heat with gas, fuel oil, or wood, you should have a carbon monoxide detector. These devices alert you to this toxic gas in the home. Smoke detectors are also important alarms. Install detectors on every floor of the house and in every bedroom. Test them monthly and replace the batteries twice every year.
For home security, install a monitored security system. Today’s units are easy to operate and they provide faster notification of a break-in. It’s also a good idea for seniors to have a medical alert system installed in their home or on their person, depending on their mobility.
If your home still has a landline, opt for cordless phones to prevent tripping. They are portable, with a range that can extend a long distance from the house. Install several in the home, and make sure you have chargers near chairs and beds.
Elderly people should have a cell phones that are easy to use. Certain cell phones are designed specifically for older people. Make sure they have plenty of chargers around the house that are easily accessible.
Finally, make sure address house numbers are visible. In case of emergency, paramedics cannot find you if your number isn’t clearly posted.
Upgrade the Bathroom to Make a Safe Home for Seniors
Keeping a home safe for seniors involves a few changes to the bathroom.
First, review the floor coverings as discussed above. Rugs can be tripping hazards and wet bathroom floors can be slippery. Install a better flooring option. Non-slip vinyl, cork, or even rubber flooring are safer materials.
Second, look at the shower or tub. The standard units installed in most homes can be tricky for the elderly to get in and out of. Install a newer model that allows you to walk in and sit down, bathing in a comfortable and safe position. If a walk-in bath isn’t an option, install grab bars in the bathroom. Add bars where you enter the shower and near the toilet.
Nobody wants to worry about elderly loved ones being safe in their own homes, but much of the danger can be prevented. These upgrades will go a long way toward preventing accidents and letting seniors age in place.