For seniors, some of the most common injuries and accidents occur right in their own home. There can be many reasons for this, such as the natural loss of eyesight, a decrease in balance, and general weakness that comes with aging. However, there are also plenty of external factors that cause injuries at home. As you age, it is important to have safety precautions put in place to ensure that you are protected.
Navigating the Stairs
One of the most problematic areas in a household for older adults is the staircase. Whether it is from a decrease in muscle and balance or a side effect of medication, such as dizziness or fatigue, going up and down steps can be a dangerous activity for seniors. There are several possible options to help get you safely from floor to floor if you wish to continue living at home. Stair lifts and in-home elevators are a convenient way to help with mobility issues. For outdoor assistance, consider putting in a ramp to get into the house instead of using stairs or a step-up porch. Another option is to consider your options for an apartment built around the retirement lifestyle.
Avoiding Falls in the Bathroom
Another area of concern is the bathroom. Shower chairs and walk-in bathtubs decrease the risk of falling on the wet surface. If you are able to stand for showers, non-slip mats with a textured surface should be in place to help protect you from slipping on water. Make sure all shelving and shower organizers are at easy to reach levels, so there is no added strain on your body. For added help, grab bars should be installed throughout the bathroom for support and balance.
Keeping A Safety Kit Within Reach
Aside from installing equipment throughout the house, there are also different tools you may want to keep with you or in a safe place for assistance in an emergency. While it is always a good idea to have a safety kit in your home, for seniors, it is especially critical. In addition to standard emergency kit items, older adults should also consider keeping a copy of phone numbers for doctors, emergency contacts and other important documents like advance directives and living wills in their emergency kits. Blood pressure monitors and blood sugar meters should be on hand if necessary. Even common first aid items, like Band-Aids, gauze, and cotton balls, could make a huge difference for seniors. Blood loss can be more severe depending on medications you may be on.
With all the technology we have available to us, you should consider investing in gadgets to keep throughout your house for additional protection. Medical alert buttons, GPS devices to warn about wandering, and activity monitors can provide peace of mind, knowing that while at home, there are back up plans in place if an accident occurs for loved ones. For further protection, you may consider looking into tools such as stoves that automatically turn off after an extended length of time and smoke detectors that also flashlights to alert those who are hard of hearing.
Consider Your Options for Retirement
Oftentimes, we make the mistake of not installing safety precautions until after an accident occurs. It’s important to think proactively about your changing health needs and plan as best as you can for an emergency. In the case of a necessary hospital or skilled nursing stay, you may also need to have these measures in place in order to return to your home. When considering your retirement living options, remember that while staying in your house might seem like the easiest option now, there is a lot of work to be done to make sure it stays safe down the road.