Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Common Safety Hazards in Seniors’ Homes

More seniors are choosing to age in place, but this means their safety within their home is even more critical. The home should allow them to easily navigate and access materials with minimal risk of falling or injury.  According to Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville, in-home care providers can support seniors in living more safely and comfortably, but proper precautions should still be taken. There are several common hazards to be aware of when evaluating your senior’s home:

  • Poor lighting: As people age, their vision may decrease making it more difficult to see in dim lighting. This can make them more susceptible to tripping and falling. Replace any burnt out lightbulbs and consider installing motion sensor lights or night lights, especially in hallways or stairwells. Common areas where seniors spend the most time should also be well lit.
  • Tripping: Check for any pieces of carpeting or tiling that are loose or damaged. If rugs are used, make sure that they are securely fastened to prevent slipping. Seniors may shuffle their feet, especially if their vision is poor, and this can increase risk of tripping on uneven or slippery surfaces. Also check to make sure there are no cords stretched near walkways and that they are safely tucked out of the way.
  • Furniture: It can become more difficult for seniors to get up and down or maintain their balance, so they may rely on furniture for help. While lightweight furniture is easier for them to move, it can be a hazard when shifting from a standing to sitting position or vice versa. Provide sturdy chairs with arms and higher backs for more support.
  • Stairs: Tighten up existing handrails or install new ones if they are not already there. Also consider grab bars in the bathroom to assist with stepping over the side of the bathtub.
  • Slippery surfaces: The bathtub and tiled floors can become slippery and dangerous, especially with condensation buildup. Use non-slip mats to provide more durable surfaces for standing and walking on. Encourage your senior to wear sneakers, slippers, or socks that fit snugly and have non-slip bottoms to further reduce fall risk.
  • Clutter: Try to keep your senior’s home organized and remove any clutter that could fall or be a tripping hazard. Ensure walkways are clear and wide enough for easy navigating. Make items on shelves more easily visible and accessible. Put commonly used items where they are within reach to minimize reaching and stooping.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Check the detectors in your senior’s home every six months or as soon as there is an indication that a battery is dying. Smoke detectors should be installed in each bedroom and in common areas throughout the home. If your senior has hearing problems, consider alarms that also have flashing lights for increased awareness.

Conduct periodic checks for any potential hazards in your senior’s home and observe how well they are able to get around and tend to basic tasks. An in-home caregiver can assist your senior with many daily activities and help improve their safety and wellbeing. They can also notify you of any concerns that may arise. Contact Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville at (828) 989-7263 or visit our website to learn more about how senior services can benefit your loved one.

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