For many elderly people, living alone can be a scary and confusing new experience. Some have never lived alone before and have always relied on others to take care of finances, home security, and housekeeping. Others are struggling with health and mobility issues that make daily living difficult. A slip in the bathtub or a fall down the stairs can be a terrifying and serious worry.
To help your elderly loved one avoid household accidents, slips, and falls, read the following guidelines. It doesn’t take much to make sure that your relative is living safely.
• Make sure all rooms, hallways, and staircases are adequately lit. Many older people struggle with poor eyesight, so extra lighting can help them see where they are going. Nightlights are an excellent way to light up the floor to prevent tripping.
• If your elderly relative lives in a two-story house, consider moving the bedroom downstairs. Stairs can be difficult for seniors, especially if they suffer from arthritis or tire easily.
• If stairs are absolutely necessary, make sure they are sturdy and have secure handrails at comfortable heights.
• Put non-slip mats in the shower and bathtub. Install grab bars in the shower as an added precaution.
• Test all smoke alarms regularly.
• Store frequently used kitchen items in low, easy-to-reach places to prevent seniors from having to reach or climb to get things.
• Put small appliances on timers. Older people can sometimes forget to turn things off. Consider installing a timer on the coffee pot, iron, toaster, or curling iron.
• Make sure that all electrical cords are safely out of the way. An elderly person can trip on a stray electrical cord.
• Check the floor for anything that could cause a fall. This includes area rugs, bumps in the carpet, or loose boards.
• Plan an emergency escape route if it is necessary to get out of the house quickly. Make sure your loved one knows what to do if there is a fire or another type of emergency.
If you have an elderly relative with a medical condition, help him/her make a list of emergency contacts including doctors, hospitals, and nearby friends and family that can be of assistance. In addition, a medical alarm system can provide a direct link with to medical personnel. Usually, medical alarms are worn on the body, so they are easily accessible at all times. If a fall prevents an elderly person from getting to the phone, a medical alarm can be used to call for help instead.