Home Safety for Seniors

As the desire for seniors to remain in their own homes it is important to learn and understand the ways that can keep you safe and healthy.  It may seem fundamental, especially if you have been living in your own home for many years.  However, there are certain concerns that should be considered in order to maintain a safe home.

Housekeeping is of utmost importance.  Maintaining a clean, clutter-free environment is essential.  Individuals feel better physically and mentally if they are in a clean setting.  This also can prevent allergies due to dust and mold as well as infection from bacteria.  Bed linens should be changed a a minimum of once per week and the kitchen and bathrooms should be cleaned on a regular basis.

For seniors, even a minor fall can cause serious injury.  Keeping throw rugs out of the daily path is a must.  Throw rugs can be slipper as well as have a lip or frayed edge that could cause a fall.  Falls are the number one cause of injury in the senior population.  If a fall should occur the injuries could include broken bones, head injury or even death.  They may look attractive in the home but throw rugs are a huge fall risk.

Electrical wires connected to electronics in the home are another source of concern.  Keep these cords bound together and tucked away so they do not create a fall rise.  Arrange the furniture so you have a clear, unobstructed path from one place to another and remove furniture that is not being used.  Less is definitely more in this area.

Another item to consider is the smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms should be installed outside of each bedroom and the kitchen.  Check the batteries frequently and replace them every six months whether they need it or not.  In most communities the local fire dept will be happy to come in and replace or install a smoke alarm for seniors.  Keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen is a wise decision.  Educate yourself on how to use and maintain it.

In the bathroom, place a non -slip rubber mat or adhesive strips on the floor of the bathtub/shower.  Handrails should be installed around the bathing area as well as grab bars on the wall around the toilet.

Please make sure your medications are reviewed frequently with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure the medicine bottles are clearly labeled.  Dispose of any old or used medications. Have your medication dispensed in a bubble pack or convenient dispenser.

A preventative measure that could definitely have a positive effect is the personal emergency system.  Personal emergency response systems provide an easy way for an older person to call for help in any emergency.  When the system is activated the signal goes to a monitoring center where specific set of action is set into motion.  If the situation is serious the emergency medical services, fire dept. or police will be dispatched to your home.  Ask your primary care physician about these systems, as it could be a great benefit for you or your loved ones.

At the end of the day seniors want to remain independent for as long as possible.  Keeping these precautions in mind will significantly increase safety in the home environment and ensure a happy, healthy individual.