Posted by: Bert Copple | June 28, 2013

Home Safety Awareness

Because we at Home Instead Senior Care serving the Detroit metro, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, and Southeast Oakland County firmly believe that it is better for seniors to age in place, we are constantly vigilant about home safety issues.

That’s why we take Home Safety Awareness Month very seriously. It’s an opportunity to assess any potential safety hazards in a senior’s home and make whatever adjustments are necessary for them to continue living a healthy, secure and, of course, safe life.

We have been involved with Home Safety Awareness Month for many years now, and here is a checklist that we  have developed over the years.

  • Examine dark pathways, corners and other areas where seniors regularly walk or read.  Make sure all areas of the home have adequate lighting.  Timed and motion-sensor lights outdoors can illuminate potentially dangerous pathways.  Inside, consider Ott-Lites – which provide a high-intensity beam for doing detail work.  Make sure that hallways and stairs are properly lit.

  • Avoid monochromatic color schemes.  Contrast can help seniors with failing eyesight better navigate their homes.  Large red and blue buttons over hot and cold water faucet controls will help prevent dangerous mistakes.  A dark green or brown toilet seat and vinyl tape around the shower will make those fixtures more easily distinguished.  Kitchen countertops should contrast with floors as well.

  • Look for ways to reorganize.  Instead of putting heavier pots and pans in cabinets, consider storing them at stove level.  Relocate any small pieces of furniture that might have become tripping hazards.

  • Look behind closed doors.  Many seniors will close off parts of a house they no longer use.  Be sure to check those areas regularly for mold or water damage.  Don’t close vents to crawl spaces.

  • Look for ways to simplify your senior’s life.  Talk to your parents about why and how they do things then look for ways to simplify their lives.  If your mom’s immaculate floors are now regularly dirty, think about how she’s been doing that job all these years and offer options.

  • Consider security.  Think about the potential dangers that lurk within your loved one’s home.  Lock-in switches on thermostats and stoves will keep seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from harming themselves.  Help them manage in their environment by installing a cordless intercom.

  • Keep an eye out for damage.  Watch for signs that a senior is adapting his or her behavior to the environment.  Look for towel bars or window sills that are pulling away or shower curtains that have torn from seniors using them to grab onto.

  • Look for ways to make entries safe.  Make sure that railings into a home are in good repair and that steps and sidewalks are not damaged. Or eliminate steps altogether.  Make sure that doors into a home can be set to stay open for carrying groceries and other items in and out.  Install remote control locks.

  • Is clutter taking over?  Messy conditions and broken items are important warning signs.  Remove area rugs and stacks of newspapers and magazines, or other potential obstacles.

If you would like further information about home safety for seniors, or if you’ d like to talk to us about a home safety assessment, please contact us at 248-203-2273, visit our website, or Like us on Facebook.

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