Safety Precautions for Seniors at Home
There are many safety precautions for seniors at home.
These are people who are living at home by themselves without a live in carer so that you will be well prepared for some of those little accidents that happen as well as other potential hazardous situations.
They can also be applied if you are living with a partner.
I believe that there are so many precautions for you to take that firstly it is important for you to know where the dangers lie hidden in your home.
It is so simple to be living in the home that we quite often go on totally oblivious to the dangers that await us.
It is therefore important to get an extra pair of eyes in to advise us.
Following losing my wife I personally had an Occupational Therapist visit me in my home.
This lady checked out the entire house and advised me what to do to make it safe.
What I Was Advised to Do
I was relatively lucky that I had recently had the bathroom and toilet renovated.
In the bathroom the shower had a non slip surface.
There were also grab rails in both the bathroom and the toilet.
There were a few other areas that I was advised to look at.
I was advised to get a medical alert system put in place so that if I had a fall I would be able to get immediate help.
This would also be of benefit should I become ill.
I was then advised to get a spare key and put it in a key safe attached to the outside wall of the house.
I could give the code to the key safe to responders when they arrived or when contacting them initially.
This meant they would have access to my house to provide help.
I did actually have to use this on a few occasions.
Twice when I had a fall and a couple of times when I needed transport to hospital.
What Else Was Assessed.
The lady that came to do the assessment also asked if I had any difficulty in showering myself.
I was asked about meal preparation.
Next came medications. She enquired if I was able to do my own daily medications.
She enquired of several emergency contact numbers for my children in case of an emergency.
We looked at fire safety.
It was necessary to swing the toilet door from inside to outside.
This was to stop me getting shut in the toilet if I had a fall.
The door would be easier to open.
The lighting in the house was assessed.
Mine was adequate.
You need to have good lighting so that you can see where you are going.
She checked to see if there were switches at both ends of the hallway.
Check all light bulbs.
Do they need changing?
Do you need a hallway light so that you can get to the toilet safely at night.
The outside lighting was another matter.
There was not sufficient lighting outside for the night.
We rectified this.
One of the outside areas I needed to have fixed was near the trash.
I had never thought of this area before.
It was necessary to get some of the cement on the walkways fixed.
Over the years this had become chipped and damaged and was a risk.
My house was low set so no great problems with stairs.
This is another area that is looked at.
Other Areas Of the House
Are your smoke detectors in working order.
Have you thought of a ramp on an entry into your home?
This would be handy if you had some mobility problems.
Remember when getting a ramp to make sure it has a non slip surface.
Rails on steps. I was lucky as I had these on both the front and back steps.
Can you open and close all your doors easily.
Do they require any maintenance.
Are your doors suitable for wheelchair activity if necessary.
This relates to the width of the doors.
These doors are both external and internal.
Floor Coverings and Rails
It is necessary that your carpets and rugs are in good condition.
No fraying of lifting around the edges.
Rugs should have a non slip backing.
You should have rails along hallways if your balance and mobility is not what it used to be.
The rails (mentioned previously) on outside stairs should be strong and in good condition.
If you have a high set house the rails on these stairs will also be checked for strength and condition.
The carpet and treads on the internal stairs will also be assessed.
For wood floors are they made slip resistant.
With linoleum is it safe and not slippery.
Is it in good condition.
Other Items Of Concern
The safety advisor will also check your home for signs of clutter.
The reason for checking this is to clear things that you could trip over and have a fall.
Closets and Cupboards
Can your cupboards and closets be easily opened.
Are you able to easily access all the shelves and items you need.
In the bedroom are you able to get in and out of bed easily.
Maybe you will need a bed rail to help.
Are your bed coverings off the floor.
This could prevent a fall from tripping.
Similarly with the curtains.
Your bathmat in the bathroom should be a non slip one.
I had to get a new bath mat as mine was not.
Can you easily get in and out of the bath or shower.
Do you need a bath slide to help.
Do you need a shower stool which will mean that you don’t have to stand while showering.
Is the bathroom free of clutter and hazards that could cause a fall.
Outdoor entertaining areas
Are they free of clutter and other items that could cause a fall?
Are all the surfaces level and in good condition ?
Is your telephone easily reached?
Can you read the numbers to dial?
Remember large number dialing pads are available.
Have a list of emergency numbers next to your phone.
Emergency Exit Plan
Do you have an emergency exit plan.
If not sit down with your advisor and put one in place immediately.
This could have life saving benefits in the case of fire.
With my medications I have my pharmacist do them up in a pack which is divided up into individual packs for the time they need to be taken.
My daughter suggested this to me and it was one of the best things I did as I was confused about taking them previously.
As you are able to see from the above there are many hazards in our home to avoid.
While you can always get a friend, neighbour or relative to help you with this I believe it is best to get a professional advisor who knows what exactly to look for.
I am sure that a professional will make you aware of more things than I have been able to cover in this article.
Before writing this article I was forced by circumstances to move to a retirement community and went through the process again.
The units here were built with care of seniors in mind so the only thing I had to do was get another bath mat as the previous one had become worn.
You may like to refer to this article on Wikipedia about Home Safety.
I also refer you to several articles on this site that may be of interest to you.
Thank you for your interest.