By Valerie VanBooven RN BSN | August 08, 2018
August 20th through 24th is National Safe at Home Week.
As a family caregiver, this is the ideal opportunity for you to review your parents home and ensure that it is equipped properly to keep your senior safe and secure as they age in place. Safety issues throughout the home are extremely common, and because elderly adults tend to face greater vulnerability, they are more likely to experience potentially serious accidents and dangerous situations. Reviewing their home carefully can illuminate these hazards, and allow you to make their environment safer throughout their later years.
Use these tips to review your parents home during National Safe at Home Week:
–Make sure there are smoke detectors throughout the home, positioned appropriately near sleeping areas and living areas. Start a habit of checking the batteries at least once a month.
-If your aging parent has hearing loss, replace smoke detectors with models that utilize flashing lights as well as sound.
-Install carbon monoxide detectors, especially if your parent has gas heat or appliances.
-Watch how your parent walks and try to mimic that gait, then move around the house. Shuffling, not lifting your feet high enough, or other issues with mobility can cause tripping or slipping hazards you might not immediately notice just by looking. Mimicking the walking can show you where problems such as uneven flooring, loose floor coverings, or slippery places exist.
-Think of all of the times in your parent’s day when they will need to perform physical tasks that might be challenging for their mobility or balance problems, such as lifting their feet to get in and out of the bathtub, climbing the stairs, and getting out of bed. Evaluate these areas to find places where you can improve safety, such as adding a handrail or grab bar, lowering the bed, or investing in a walk-in tub or shower.
-If your parent is living with a cognitive functioning decline, consider habits such as turning on the stove or making coffee that can now be hazardous for your parent, and make adjustments to the home to reduce these risks.
-If your aging parent has wandering tendencies, consider all of the access points on their home that they might use to leave the home. Add locks to these doors that are not like those your parent has always used. They are likely to remember how to use familiar locks but are unlikely to look for locks near the top of the door or near the floor. This can help prevent them from leaving the home unnoticed.
-Fall risk is one of the greatest dangers your aging parent faces during their senior years.
Starting home care for them can be a fantastic way to help them stay safer while still encouraging them to enjoy an active, independent lifestyle as they age in place. The customized services of an in-home senior care services provider can help your parent to cope with a wide variety of challenges and limitations that can increase their fall risk so they can reduce these risks and avoid potentially devastating injuries.
Physical support while navigating both in and out of their home, assistance with personal care tasks such as bathing, and help with tasks throughout the home such as laundry and tidying that might strain their body can all help your parent to avoid potential falls.
Helping your parent make good lifestyle choices, including eating a healthy diet and staying active, can make them stronger, more flexible, and more responsive, all of which can also help to reduce the risk your senior will fall.
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