Presently, the number of senior citizens is growing at a staggering rate. As per reports from USA Today, one out of eight (13%) Americans is above the age of 65 years. As people get older they may develop problems with balance, strength, memory, vision and other issues that can put them at the risk of being injured. If you have a senior loved one in your home, a major concern is regarding their safety in home. Many homeowners do make possible adjustments in home design so that elderly adults can move around the house easily and safely.
However, it cannot be denied that home safety for older people is a serious issue and an unsafe environment can possibly result in serious injury or even death. Reports suggest that about 20 million seniors above 65 years visit the emergency room each year, with almost a third of the visits mainly related to injuries (many of which are sustained in their homes). According to a survey by Home Instead, Inc., (franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network) 65% seniors have at least one potential security issue. Half of these home hazards can significantly impact a seniors’ ability to live independently and can therefore be avoided by taking adequate steps.
It is crucial for homeowners and family members to invest time in identifying and making the necessary home safety modifications to provide absolute security and independence to aged people at home. These steps will enhance their quality of life thereby enabling them to enjoy the full use of the home while maintaining their personal independence. Some of the steps that can be taken are mentioned below –
- Remove tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways. Place all required items properly so that they are easily accessible to seniors. Arrange the furniture properly, ensuring a lot of open space and correct passage.
- Ensure the safety of outdoor walkways, doorways, stairs and entrances.
- Most of the homes may not be convenient or safe areas for older people with mobility issues and wheelchair users. Now several reliable accessibility products such as stair lifts and elevators are available. Installing a stair lift is an ideal option that will enable elderly loved ones to move about the different floors in their house safely and independently.
- For seniors living alone, a personal medical alert system will enable them to call for help during emergencies.
- Staircases in the house should have a non-slip surface and good lighting facility with switches both at the top and bottom.
- Remove electrical or telephone cords from traffic areas.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and smoke detector on every floor.
As people get older, their security needs also change. Therefore, it is important for home owners to conduct an annual safety check that can help older people avoid hazards at home.