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Five Tips to Make the Home Safer for Seniors

Senior couple safe at homeWith the rising cost of retirement care facilities, many seniors are choosing to stay in their homes as long as possible.  Living at home allows them to maintain their independence and stay in a familiar place.  However, as they age, safety can become a concern.  Taking a proactive approach to home safety is the best way to prevent accidents.  A slip and fall accident can be devastating for a senior and force them to give up their independent lifestyle.

If you are the child of an aging parent, follow these five tips to take a proactive approach to safety around the home:

Be prepared for emergencies

Check the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis.  Make sure all exits are unobstructed in the event of an emergency.  Keep the home well lit, particularly the areas that may be difficult for them such as outdoor walkways and stairs.  Discuss an emergency exit plan in the event of a fire.

Identify hazards before they become dangerous

Pay special attention to the floors – an upturned rug or a loose transition piece could become a serious tripping hazard.  Try to eliminate as much clutter as possible.  Check handrails to make sure they are properly fastened to the wall.  If your parents rely on a cane or walker, double check with their healthcare provider to ensure that they are using the proper equipment to get around the house.

Pay special attention to the bathroom

Slip and fall accidents are very common in the bathroom, so this is a space that requires extra care.  Install grab handles beside the tub and toilet.  Place a non-skid matt in and beside the tub, and place a bath chair in the tub if required.

Identify their personal challenges and make the necessary changes

If your parent has impaired vision, there are plenty of products available on the market to make their daily life easier.  Ask them if there are particular tasks that they are having difficulty with.  Speak to a public health nurse or occupational therapist who specializes in senior care. They will be able to assist in making effective changes around the home and making the home safer for seniors.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If your parent is having trouble keeping their home organized, bring in a cleaner once a week.  Worried about the walk-ways in the wintertime?  Hire someone to toss salt on the walkway and shovel the driveway.  A few helping hands can go a long way in creating a safe environment.

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