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A survey by AARP shows that about 75% of adults aged 50+ want to age at home as long as possible. Unfortunately, adapting a home to be safe for the elderly is easier said than done.
A lot could go wrong: sharp edges could hurt someone, tiled floors can be slippery, and simple stairs could also increase the risk of falling. As you can see, making all these changes can be tricky if you don't know what to modify.
Meanwhile, only 10% of homes in the United States of America are aging-ready, says the U.S Census Bureau.
In this article, we look into home safety for the elderly and how to protect your aging loved ones from falls, burns, choking, poisoning, and burglary.
Ensuring your home is safe and secure is crucial for the well-being of everyone living there. Whether you're a renter or a homeowner, you've heard about the limitations seniors face. Your once beautiful designs perfect for you can be a danger to an aging person.
For this reason, you should shift the odds in their favor by making necessary adjustments in the house to keep it safe for the elderly. Doing this helps prevent accidents and keeps your loved ones safe and sound.
Making a home safe for the elderly involves tons of modifications. You may already have smoothened a few sharp desk corners, but that's not enough to preserve the home safety of adults.
With that in mind, here are room-by-room tips on making home safe for seniors:
The bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in any house. Slippery tiles and ceramic bathtubs, hard concrete floors, metal sinks, and damp air threaten elderly home safety. The good news is that there are several ways to reduce the risk of accidents among aging adults by doing the following:
Slips and falls are likely to occur when standing in the shower because of slippery tiles. You can fix this home safety for the elderly problem by installing non-slip mats or shower mats to provide a stable surface to stand on. These mats also ensure good balance and friction, preventing accidental slipping while showering.
Older adults may not be able to stand all long when showering. Installing a shower bench can bring them relief and safety while in the bathroom.
The purpose of the grab bars is to provide balance whenever your senior loved one wants to stand or sit down. Bear in mind that grab bars are different from towel racks and door handles in that they're firmer and much more reliable.
Proper lighting is an essential requirement for every bathroom. Walking in darkness can compromise balance and safety. For this reason, consider using long-lasting LED light bulbs, bright toilet lighting fixtures, and motion-sensor night lights.
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The kitchen is a potentially dangerous place for the elderly, especially those with dementia. It has sharp knives, gas burners, and hot stoves, all of which pose a danger to elderly safety in the home.
Here's how to make a kitchen safer for seniors:
Fire is one of the biggest threats to home safety for seniors. Fire outbreaks in the kitchen often occur when cooking food is left unattended. It also happens frequently when flammables (kitchen clothes, curtains, potholders) come into contact with flames or hot surfaces.
You should install safety devices such as automatic shut-offs and keep fire extinguishers close to minimize the risks. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use. Appliances like microwaves should be used under supervision.
Unseen spillages on the floor could cause an older adult to trip or fall. To prevent this from happening, wipe up spills immediately.
Using non-slip mats on the kitchen floor can reduce the chances of falling on a smooth floor. Put one close to the sink to absorb any water seniors may spill on the floor without noticing.
Apart from the bathroom, the sitting room is another most used space. There are plenty of opportunities to enhance the safety of the sitting room by doing the following:
The couch and chairs in the living room should be at an appropriate height (not too high and not too low). They should also have an armrest so that getting up will be easy.
Non-slip floor materials can reduce the risk of older adults falling. It is risky to install slippery flooring like tiles for home safety for the elderly. You can also consider using railings on the staircase, grab bars in strategic places, and clear walkways to prevent falls in the sitting room.
A spacious living room is free from clutter and easy to navigate for seniors. This way, your elderly loved ones can move without any obstacles.
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After a long day, the elderly go to the bedroom for an afternoon nap or a good night's rest. The bedroom should be comfortable and easy to access. Here are other ways to keep it safe:
Most seniors, especially adults with mobility problems, spend more time in bed than anywhere else at home. Setting the bed to a safe height means it should be easy to climb and get off. Like the rest of the furniture in the house, the bed should not be too high or too low.
An easy hack to get the correct bed height for older adults is to check whether they can sit on the bed with their feet on the floor and legs at a 90-degree angle. Or, you can use an adjustable bed.
Always ensure that the light switches are within reach. As usual, do not keep these switches too high. Your senior parent should be able to reach whatever control they need without struggling.
Here's the last tip to ensure home safety for the elderly. Get a fully-equipped alert tool for your loved ones. Such systems are a great addition to safety measures based on interior design. They allow seniors to ask for help in an emergency by clicking a panic button. Learn more about their functionality below.
Life is full of risks and surprises. You never know when you'll fall, have a medical emergency, or be the victim of a crime. Life-alert systems that provide home safety for adults make you better protected in emergencies.
These systems can help you monitor your regular routines and respond to emergencies. They can also help you stay connected to your family members, friends, and caregivers.
What features should a life alert system for seniors' safety have?
A reliable life alert system should have a panic button to enable users to activate emergency alerts. These alerts notify selected contacts that the person is in trouble.
In case of emergencies, the GPS tracking feature allows loved ones, security operatives, and medical experts to find you in no time.
For additional safety, apps like AllsWell Alert automatically send notifications to emergency contacts when the user is inactive for too long. For example, if the person falls and cannot reach the phone for several hours, they will still get help.
Find out more about the AllsWell Alert app here or use a free version by downloading it from Google Play or AppStore.
Accidents are inevitable, and no one knows when they will hit. However, that doesn't mean that you can't observe safety measures and avoid doing what threatens home safety for older adults. At AllsWell Alert, we help our customers ensure home safety for the elderly living on their own. Get in touch with us for more information.