We are an ageing society, and we continue to live longer. Consequently, its never been more critical to keep people in their homes for as long as possible and as healthy as possible. Some of the keys to supporting people living independently are to be proactive. Preparing homes for the changing needs of the elderly can prevent hazardous falls and keep our seniors feeling a part of the community. So, what do we do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and secure in their homes? Here are some tips to consider.

10 Senior Safety Tips

1. Take an honest appraisal of the living space in question and look for ways to prepare for living with the possibility of reduced mobility, balance and memory. And prepare the home for the case of caregiver access.
2. Are all areas of the home well-lit? Perhaps consider installing motion-activated light switches that will light up hallways and rooms the second motion is detected. This may prevent a dangerous fall and injury in the middle of the night.
3. Are the floor surfaces non-slip, free of throw rugs, electrical or phone cords that become tripping or slipping hazards?
4. Avoid acquiring pets that could get underfoot or require leashes and long walks. As we age, our mobility and balance change. For example, a significant or hyper dog requires a great deal of care and can cause potentially hazardous falls to fragile bones.
5. Stairs, whenever possible, should be avoided. Living space all on 1 level is preferred but not always possible. If you have stairs, ensure they are always free and clear of clutter. There should be a sturdy handrail installed on both sides of the staircase. The stairs should also be well lit, in good repair and have anti-slip strips installed on each one. If you use reading glasses, remove them before using the stairs.
6. Fire safety is also paramount. Ensure working smoking detectors are on every level and in the sleeping area. Avoid using power bars, extension cords and space heaters. Have heating systems regularly serviced and CO detectors installed. Keep a fully charged fire extinguisher in easy reach in the kitchen.
7. The bathroom may seem insignificant, but it can be the source of many falls and injuries for seniors. Has an anti-scald faucet been installed in the shower to prevent burns and ensure the hot water temperature is set at the recommended temperature? Safety Grab bars should be installed in the shower, tub and beside the toilet. Consider a raised toilet seat and a shower chair. Ensure the bathroom door lock has an emergency release and a night light or motion light is installed.
8. The Kitchen is a favourite place in many homes. It, too, has its share of potential hazards. Of course, the stove is a significant hazard. Ensure switches are marked for “on” and “off”. Avoid large, heavy pots and keep oven mitts handy.
9. The bedroom should be equipped with a night light and an easily accessible lamp or light switch that can be reached from the bed. Always ensure a clear path to the bathroom and turn on the lights. Keep a phone and a list of emergency numbers near the bedside.
10. The garage is often a favourite place and home to many powerful tools and equipment. Keep tools and equipment in good working order. Be prepared for the different seasons. Have salt and sand on hand for the slippery winter conditions. Never barbecue inside your garage or leave a car idling. And be careful how chemicals are stored, such as gasoline, paint thinner, batteries etc.

These ten tips are just touching the highlights of home safety fro seniors.

Today’s technology allows us to do many things to help ourselves and our loved ones.

Everything from monitored alarm systems, camera systems and emergency mobile pendants can help keep our seniors healthy and independent much longer than in previous generations. Take advantage of all or some of these options! Many can be done at minimal cost and can be very beneficial.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.