More and more seniors and older adults are expressing the desire to remain in the comfort of their own homes as they grow older, also referred to as aging in place. Although there are numerous benefits of being able to stay in familiar surroundings, how safe is your loved one’s home? Hazards can lurk in many places and simple activities that were once easy to complete may threaten a senior’s safety. However, knowing what to look for will help you create a senior-friendly environment that your loved one can enjoy during their golden years.
Modify the Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in the home and can also be one of the most dangerous. Wet floors pose a threat of slipping and the tub area can cause a fall if proper safety implements are not present. Install grab bars and use non-skid floor mats to decrease the chances of an accident or fall. You may also want to consider widening the doorways, adding a walk-in bathtub or increasing the height on the toilet if mobility issues are a concern. If your aging parent or loved one needs assistance with personal care routines, learn more about hourly home caregivers in Palm Beach County and how they ensure safety with bathing, dressing, grooming and incontinence.
Evaluate and Reorganize the Kitchen
While your aging loved one may have been able to use their kitchen without danger for years and years, changes in his or her mobility, balance and vision are just a few of the things that can make meal preparation dangerous. Tie up any dangling appliance cords to reduce fall risk and regularly used items such as dishes and glasses should be kept within a safe reaching level. Also make sure that all fire detectors in this area are in good working condition and if there isn’t one present already, purchase a timer to help your loved one keep track of how long things are on the stove or in the oven.
Install New Light Bulbs
Go through each room in the home and be sure that every light has a working (and bright) light bulb. There are many light bulbs and LED lighting options on the market today that have the ability to illuminate large rooms while also being extremely energy efficient. Also consider putting in additional lights or night lights in narrow hallways, stairwells and other places that are difficult to see. This will help to ensure that your loved one is able to navigate throughout the home, no matter what time of day.
While hallway runners and area rugs can offer a nice decorative touch, they can be an enemy to an aging adult, especially if he or she requires the use of a walker. It is extremely easy for one’s foot to get caught under the walker. If possible, remove all rugs from the home to reduce potential trip hazards or secure the rugs safely to the floor.
Don’t Forget the Outdoors
Not only are there risks inside the home, but outside as well. Sufficient lighting on the porch and driveway, for example, is important. This is particularly true since many seniors experience problems with night vision. Check for rough or uneven edges on the walkway that could threaten stability.
Every individual has different needs, but taking these simple precautions will ensure your parent continues to remain safe and secure in their own home. If you have taken all of the above precautions and are still concerned about the safety and security of your aging loved one, you may want to consider an in-home caregiver in Palm Beach County. Providing care on an hourly or 24 hour basis, these highly trained and professional individuals can ensure safety and comfort when performing activities such as cooking, light housekeeping and more.
For more information about Palm Beach home care services, contact Home Care Assistance. We serve seniors throughout Palm Beach County and offer free in-home consultations where we can learn more about your loved one’s home environment and abilities to create a custom care plan that meets individual needs. To speak with a Care Manager, call 561-429-8292 today.