Tips For Improving Home Safety For Your Senior Loved One
Are you wondering how to create a safe home environment? How can you focus on safety when caring for a senior loved one keeps you busy? To help you get started, Pegasus senior care specialists in Thousand Oaks and elsewhere offer these suggestions.
Some safety precautions will vary according to the physical and mental abilities of your senior loved one. Other considerations include whether they are living with you or in their own home. However, certain measures are necessary for all circumstances, and fall reduction tops the list.
Falls Are The Leading Cause Of Injuries In Seniors
Millions of individuals are injured in falls every year. Thousands suffer fatal injuries when they fall. Falls are the biggest cause of hospitalizations and injuries resulting in death among the elderly.
Many fall reduction techniques are simple and low cost. Start with removing clutter and other objects on the floor. Arrange furniture so that edges won’t trip or snag someone. Keep electrical and phone cords behind or under furniture so your senior won’t trip on them.
Anything that is loose, such as a throw rug, needs to be secured. Encourage your loved one to wear sensible shoes that fit well and that have non-skid soles. Clean up any spills immediately.
Although an accident can happen anywhere, bathrooms are often regarded as the most dangerous room in the home. Bathroom safety starts with grab bars and non-slip mats. Install a walk-in tub if you or your loved one can afford the cost.
If not, a shower seat and a handheld shower can prevent many slips and falls. Towels and shower supplies should be within easy reach. If your senior is especially frail, they may need assistance getting in or out the shower.
Factors other than physical hazards that can lead to falls include:
- Age-related loss of flexibility, ability to balance, or coordination
- Illness that impairs balance, gait, or coordination
- Interactions between medications
- Medications that lead to dizziness
- Muscle weakness
- Poor vision
The potential of a fall from these factors can be reduced. Pegasus physical and occupational therapists will work with your senior at home to strengthen muscles. They’ll customize gentle exercises that can improve balance and coordination.
A consultation with a healthcare provider can perhaps get dosages or timing of medications changed. A visit to an optometrist might improve vision. Flavored beverages can prevent dehydration.
Your loved one might be resistant to admitting there’s a problem. The Falls Prevention Conversation Guide For Caregivers is a free useful resource. It includes questions to ask your senior as well as suggestions for follow-up.
Good Lighting Is Essential
Poor lighting increases the risk of falls. It also presents other safety hazards. It’s all too easy to mix up medicines in dim light.
Without adequate light, accidents can happen during almost every activity. The wrong appliance can be turned on or not turned off. That potentially leads to burns, or even worse, fire.
Without adequate lighting, objects are difficult to see, especially in individuals with poor vision. Individuals end up bumping into something they would typically avoid. Or they might not see a hazard and fall or otherwise injure themselves.
People tend to sleep better in a darkened room; however, night lights prevent disorientation and injuries. Consider installing motion-activated night lights. Some are battery operated and can be placed anywhere.
Poisoning Can Result If Sense of Smell Or Taste Is Lost
A reduced sense of smell or taste could potentially cause your loved one to eat food that’s gone bad. Or they could mistake a non-food item as edible. Although some loss of the senses is expected with aging, there are treatable causes.
Have a healthcare provider evaluate and treat your senior for medical symptoms first. If they are permanently unable to distinguish smells or tastes accurately, then you will need to ensure their safety. That usually means monitoring the contents of their refrigerator and pantry if they don’t live with you.
If your loved one is cognitively impaired, you have additional safety challenges. Impaired individuals require extra care, as well as the removal of more safety hazards. As their condition progresses, even more precautions will be necessary to keep them safe.
Unfortunately, many tend to wander out of your home. You may need to restrict access to the outdoors with locks. They will need to have ID on them at all times.
Improve Safety One Step At A Time
Understand that you can’t do everything at once. Start with where your loved one spends the most time, then progress to the remainder of the home. Consider everything a potential safety risk and eliminate or modify all that you can.
If your caregiving duties result in feeling fatigued or overwhelmed, those feelings become a safety issue. It’s crucial to make time for yourself. Respite care from Pegasus means that professionals step in to give you a break for as long as needed.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We provide comprehensive senior care services in Thousand Oaks and our other locations. Our professionals are dedicated to keeping individuals living safely in their own home.