Home is the place where everyone usually feels safest, especially seniors. But did you know that while the outside world can pose many dangers, your home can also be filled with hidden hazards? Each year, around 3 million elderly people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries received from falling, many of which occur in the home. In fact, there are a surprising number of common, in-home risks that could cause injury. Here’s how you can keep safe, avoid accidents, and enjoy your home, wherever you live.
Invest in a Health Alert System
When you’re spending time alone, it’s common to worry about what would happen if you had to face an emergency. Technology can help your life in many ways and can be a great way to make your home safer. Installing a PERS (personal emergency response service) is a great way to help ensure your safety when alone. A PERS may also be called a life alert system, medical alert system, or telemonitoring. Some systems are installed with your landline and supply you with buttons to place around your home, allowing you to call for help instantly.
There are also devices you can wear in your pocket or around your neck, so you can have a connection in any area of your home. In terms of pricing, most products use a subscription model, so be sure to invest wisely and account for the increase to your monthly budget. However, having a home alert system is worth the price since it’ll keep you safe in an emergency.
Conduct a Home Safety Check
Taking some time to check your home for potential hazards can be a great step to take before making any upgrades. If this is something you don’t feel comfortable doing yourself, enlisting the help of a loved one is a great option. Going room by room, take the time to check for safety hazards such as:
- Obstructive furniture
- Faulty steps or uneven flooring
- Poorly lit areas or inaccessible lighting
- Loose carpeting and rugs
- Clutter and debris
- Faulty electrical cords and wiring
- Missing smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms
- Broken or hazardous knobs on appliances
- Loose items in storage areas
- Important items that are out of reach
- Dangerous kitchen appliances without automatic shutoff features
- Lack of fire extinguishers and safety equipment
This is not an exhaustive list, but it can help point you in the right direction when trying to assess what risky points might lie throughout your home. Consider these hazards when deciding on upgrades. For example, a walk-in bathtub can reduce the risk of a bathroom fall. Replacing your old lights with bright, long-lasting LED lights can improve visibility throughout your entire home. Automatic or voice-controlled lighting can make it much easier for you to access lighting when you need it. Remedying these problems and installing safety upgrades can save you not only time and money, but also your health.
Consider Downsizing Your Home
Having extra space filled with clutter, multiple levels, and unnecessary (or oversized) appliances can become burdensome for seniors living alone. Falls are the number one cause of injuries to seniors, and stairs are a major falling hazard. Downsizing your home to a smaller, more usable space can help you maintain your independence and worry less about getting hurt. If your home isn’t already paid off, and you’re interested in buying a smaller one, securing pre-approval for a mortgage can help to assess the budget for this transition and give you a better understanding of your finances before making such a large investment. You may also want to consider selling your house and renting, and then living off the money earned from selling your home.
If safety is a top priority, you may seek extra assistance. Choosing an assisted living community can help make sure you are safe and cared for during all hours of the day. It can be hard to accept that you need a little extra support but embracing the opportunity to have your safety cared for may give you much more freedom than you think. Amber Court Assisted Living provides options for seniors who require more assistance without compromising independence. You may also find that your social circle widens as you make new friends and have space to talk and socialize with others. This is because senior living communities also offer the benefit of reducing feelings of isolation, giving you a network of friends to share new experiences with. Changing your living situation to support your needs helps you enjoy your free time safely and comfortably.
When Forgetting Becomes a Problem
Many people begin having symptoms of memory loss as they age, and this is an especially important risk to consider when it comes to home safety. Our blog about Tech for Seniors has great tips about apps that can help any senior remember important daily routines (medications, etc.) but forgetting to turn off the stove could be disastrous. Small, inexpensive digital timers placed near anything that needs to be turned off can be a lifesaver. Get into the habit of turning on the timer any time you turn on a cooking appliance or a space
heater, light candles, etc., especially with the colder months approaching. For seniors with more advanced memory issues, the Alcove is a state-of-the-art memory care community with everyday socialization and stimulation. With daily activities and even live entertainment regularly, the Alcove is a great place for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive care needs.
The last thing you want to worry about is a costly, painful accident in your home. Taking safety measures is a great investment of your time and money, whether you’re living at home or considering assisted living. Prioritizing your safety is one thing you’ll never regret.