How To Make Your Home Safer For The Elderly

There are a number of considerations to bear in mind when improving the safety of a home, particularly with respect to elderly guests or residents. The physical and mental changes that occur over time can cause a previously-safe home to develop hazards that may not have been previously apparent.

As in all homes, emergency preparedness is crucial. Fire extinguishers should be readily-available, particularly in areas where cooking takes place or heating devices are used, and smoke detectors should be installed both on every floor and outside every bedroom. Evacuation plans, whether they are for severe weather or fire, should be reviewed periodically. Flashlights should be easy-to-find in the event of a power outage.

Safety in the home can be further enhanced with special attention paid to falling hazards. One of the primary causes of injury and death among seniors is falling, and there are many simple steps that one may take to “fall-proof” a home. All floor surfaces should be non-slip, and any rugs or carpets should be firmly tacked or affixed. Doorways and room transitions should be flush, with no raised or uneven edges. Any stairs should have sturdy railings and adequate lighting, with switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. Every attempt should be made to keep devices such as lamps or appliances near their outlets, in the interest of keeping electrical cords short and tucked away, rather than strewn across the floor.

Kitchen and bathroom safety are of particular importance, as floors are often un-carpeted and may be slippery. All spills should be wiped up promptly. Additionally, burns can be avoided or minimized by setting the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and single-lever faucet controls rather than separate dials for hot and cold are a good idea.

With just a little time and attention, any home can be made safer for seniors!

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