Home safety tips for seniors and caregivers

Home safety tips for seniors and caregivers

Making sure that the person in your care has a safe environment to call home is one of the most important responsibilities you will have as a caregiver.

A thorough home safety inspection for seniors will help you determine if you need to make some changes to the home or need to install home safety products, whether the elderly person in need of care lives independently or with you.

Before you start making changes, make sure you involve the person in your care with any planned improvements in their home.

Here is a basic home safety list for seniors that you can use as a caregiver to create a safer living environment for those in your care.

Before you start making changes, make sure you involve the person in your care with any planned improvements in their home.

Grab a Hold of Bathroom Safety!

Even coordinated younger adults can find the slippery surfaces in the bathroom tricky territory. Common bathroom safety improvements for seniors can include:

  • Installing safety grab bars in the shower or using a shower seat.
  • Adding a grip pad in the shower, ideally in a colour high in contrast to the colour of the tub. This will make it clear where it’s safe to step. 
  • Installing a raised toilet seat to make it easier for the person you’re caring for to stand up and sit down when using the toilet.

Rearrange and Organize Common Items and Furniture

How often do we go routing around for something, find it, and then think to ourselves, “I really should find a better place to keep this?”

Part of improving safety in the home for seniors is proper organization so that the items most often used are in convenient places to reach, without requiring a lot of bending or using a stepping stool. 

  • Reorganize your cabinets so that the items used frequently by the person you’re caring for are easily within their reach.
  • Adjust the heights of furniture to make it easier for the senior to access and use, especially if the person you are caring for has difficulty sitting down and standing up.

Put Fire Safety First!

As a caregiver we cannot become complacent about the proper functioning of home safety devices and equipment in the home. We must also check for typical household items that may be harmful to an elderly person in our care.

Here are the major home safety checks you can make when it comes to ensuring the safety of seniors in your care.

  • Make sure smoke detectors are properly installed and working.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and place it in a visible area in the kitchen.
  • Set the water heater temperature at less than 49 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit in case the person’s skin is less able to sense heat.
  • Consider removing small electrical appliances such as hair dryers and razors from the bathroom.

Step Safely To Reduce the Risk of Falls

5 factors that put seniors at risk of falling infographic

Falls are a serious yet common home safety issue for seniors, especially for elderly people being cared for in their own home. While we can try to prevent falls at any age, the risk of falling and the severity of injuries increases for people who:

  • Are over the age of 65
  • Take drugs to assist with sleep or settle nerves
  • Have problems with balance, strength or sensation in in their legs/feet
  • Have difficulty walking, or getting in our out of the bathtub
  • Have a history of falls within the last 12 months

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take as a caregiver to make a home safer and help to prevent falls.

Here are some home safety tips and precautions you can take to remove tripping hazards and reduce the risk of falling both inside and outside the home.

  • Install sturdy banisters on both sides of the stairs.
  • Use sturdy, non-slip rugs without rips or tears, or remove small area rugs where possible (or consider taping them to the floor so the edge can’t be caught).
  • Salt driveways and walkways in the winter.
  • Install bright lights in hallways and bathrooms.
  • Clear walkways of any extension cords or other tripping hazards.

Remember that an in home safety assessment for seniors is important to conduct on a regular basis to reduce risk of injury.

Are you a caregiver? Share your tips for improving safety for seniors at home in the comments section below.

 

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