There's a good reason why every elderly person should look for ways to senior proof your home. Every year about 7,000 elderly deaths are reported as a result of home-related accidents, and millions sustain injuries.
Many risks are associated with the elderly living independently, which is why some people choose to place their loved ones in assisted living homes. However, it is much more comfortable for elderly people to live out the rest of their lives in their own homes. Some of the risks associated with independent elderly living are falls, burns, drowning, and other accidents.
The first step to a senior proof home is recognizing what hazards are in the home. For instance, the stairs, shower, and stove. Take medical issues into consideration during your assessment.
10 Ways to Senior Proof Your Home
1) Install grab bars
2) Install an electric chair lift for the staircase
3) Remove area rugs
4) Raise chair-heights
5) Replace bathtubs/showers with walk in tubs/showers
6) Install ramps, and railings
7) Install a Medical Alert System with a personal pendant.
8) Set water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or below
9) Keep flashlights handy in several rooms around the house
10) Program emergency phone numbers in your cell phone, and have a list handy
Although many people have switched their telephone service from land line to a mobile phone, it is a good idea to have a land line in the home. Depending on your location, 911 phone calls may be difficult to locate by cell phone. However, in emergency situations the 911 dispatchers can trace your location faster from a land line.
Raising chair-heights make it easier to get in, and out of a chair.
Removing area rugs, and other obstacles in pathways eliminates the risk of falls.
When installing dead bolts on doors, you may want to consider adding a combination lock pad to the garage door. In case of an emergency, family members who have the garage door code can enter the home.
If you're getting a Medical Alert System, make sure to find out the best medical alert system for your situation. Be sure to check the range and reliability of the devices before purchasing or getting locked into a contractual term.
Setting the water heater thermostat to a lower temperature eliminates the risk of scalding burns from sinks, and showers.
During your initial assessment it is important to recognize as many potential hazards as possible. Now is the time to decide if canes, or walkers would be of assistance in your safety assessment. Scheduling a doctor visit for a check-up may also provide more assistance for safer living according to your personal needs.
What to look for in your assessment
- Home security: Doors, windows, garage doors, alarm systems
- Bathrooms: Tubs/Showers, handrails, floor surface
- Medical conditions: medications, and other physical conditions
- Communication: home phones, cell phones, panic buttons, etc.
- Stairs: Railings, and stair lifts
- Door entry: rugs, ramps, and railings
- Furniture: Height, and condition
- Smoke Alarms: batteries
- Obstacles: blocking walkways – remove to prevent falls
- Equipment: Canes, Wheelchairs, Mobility Scooters, Walkers, etc.