Today, more and more elderly patients are choosing to remain in their own homes as they age rather than moving into senior homes or similar facilities. From a safety standpoint, it is important to address their living conditions to make sure that potential hazards are eliminated. Although it may seem like the risks associated with living at home are relatively low, there are a surprising number of dangers that need to be addressed in order to make the environment safe.
Keeping the home clean and free from clutter is absolutely essential. Living in a clean environment promotes better physical and mental well-being. Elderly patients are more susceptible to problems with allergies and infections. Removing dust, mold, and other allergens from the environment can help keep any issues from arising. The bed sheets should be washed on a weekly basis. Similarly, the bathroom and kitchen should be regularly cleaned to minimize the exposure to bacteria.
Falling down is one of the biggest threats that elderly patients face. Removing throw rugs from the home is a good way to minimize the risk of falls. It is easy for a person to catch their foot on the edge of a rug or to slip when walking on it, resulting in a fall. Falling down is the leading cause of injuries in the elderly. Even a minor fall can cause major injuries. Elderly people have brittle bones that can easily break. They are also more susceptible to head injuries, which is why it is so important to remove throw rugs from the home.
Loose electrical wires are another potential hazard – especially if they are stretched across a walkway or in an area where the person walks. Make sure that cords from electrical appliances are neatly wrapped and secured so that no one can trip on them. The furniture in the home should be arranged in such a way that the person can easily walk through space without running into any obstructions. Getting rid of unneeded furniture can help clear out space, making it easier for the person to get around.
The smoke alarms also need to be regularly checked and tested. There should be a smoke alarm near each bedroom in the home as well as one in the kitchen. If necessary, you may be able to contact the fire department in the location where the elderly person lives for assistance with installing a new smoke alarm. It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand. Make sure that the person living in the home knows how to properly use it.
To prevent accidents in the bathroom, install non-slip strips on the bathtub floor. Putting handrails around the shower is also beneficial. A grab bar near the toilet can also make it easier to stand up. If the bathroom door currently locks, you may want to think about disabling the lock so that the person can’t inadvertently get locked inside.
If you are concerned about safety, another option that you may want to consider is investing in a personal emergency response device. These systems are designed to alert local authorities if your loved one requires emergency assistance. The devices themselves are usually worn around the neck or on the wrist. They automatically send out a signal if a problem is detected. This enables emergency response personnel to get to the scene quickly, providing your loved one with the care that they need. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about whether one of these systems is the right choice for their situation.