In-home care for seniors is on the rise. Although it's great that more seniors can stay living in their homes longer, it's important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your loved ones are safe while they are home alone.
By taking the time to make some simple safety updates to the home, you can help prevent accidents and falls, which can lead to broken bones or more serious injuries.
Are you considering in-home care for your aging parents? Today, we're sharing some of our best tips for keeping them happy and healthy at home.
The importance of good lighting
Adequate lighting in the home can make a huge difference to the safety of our seniors. Replace burned-out lightbulbs throughout the house to ensure they can see properly in all the rooms, and to keep them from attempting to climb a ladder to change the bulbs themselves. This could cause a fall, which would be completely preventable if you take the time to fix the lights for them.
Like a ladder, stairs can also cause potential falls and injuries for seniors. If there is a staircase in the home, make sure to have a light switch at the bottom and top of the stairs, so they can turn on the lights from both ends.
Staying safe in the bathroom
The bathroom can be one of the most problematic rooms in the house for seniors. Fortunately, there are now many bath aids, handle bars to grab, and built-in seats in the shower that can help seniors when bathing to keep them safe and comfortable. Along with installing recommended safety equipment, also make sure that the hot and cold faucets are clearly marked, buy a bath mat with a non-slip bottom, and plug in a nightlight or keep the lights on during the night. These small adjustments can make a huge difference in the long run.
Double trouble in the kitchen
The kitchen is another important room in the home to secure for seniors since they can encounter issues with both food and fire when cooking. First, let's tackle the food. Take the time to rotate food in their refrigerator and throw out food that is past its expiration date. Also, keep hazardous items, like cleaning products, in a separate area from the food, so they don't mix-up any bottles. Storing sharp knives in a secure knife rack, will also help prevent them from unintentionally cutting themselves on one that could be laying around on a counter.
To prevent fires in the home while cooking, make sure they avoid wearing loose fitting clothes when they are using the stovetop. Install fire alarms throughout the home and check the batteries regularly, along with having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, which you have taken the time to show them how to operate. When possible, using the microwave can be a safer cooking option over the stove. However, if they do insist on using the stove, make sure they never leave food unattended, and clean up any grease or food spills on the range.
Precautions when taking medicine
It's common for most seniors to take some type of prescription or over-the-counter medicine daily. Encourage them to make a habit of reading the labels in good lighting to make sure they are taking the correct medicine, at the right time, and the intended dose. Make sure the medicine is stored in a cabinet that is easy to reach, so they don't have to struggle to get it down or forget to put it back in the same place every day.
Discard any old medicine for them that is past its expiration date, and check with their doctor before they mix any over-the-counter medicine or vitamins with a prescription drug.
Safety in numbers
It's always a good idea to stop by your parents' home regularly for well-being checks, but we understand you can't be there as much as you would like. Most of the time, you need to rely on others for help.
Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor in case they get locked out of their home, or the neighbor needs to check-in on them and no-one answers the door. Medical alert companies are also a good option, so seniors know they can get immediate help if needed.
Seniors should also never open the door to a stranger, repairman, or salesperson that they are not expecting. Ask the person for their contact information, and have them call the company to verify that they should be allowed into the home.
Do you have any other safety tips or updates that you've made in your aging parents' home? Let us know!