Older people tend to need a bit more care and if they are determined to remain in their own home for as long as possible, you need to make sure that it is safe. Home safety at this age isn’t just about having good locks and alarms; it is also about making sure that your relatives can live safely without putting themselves in harm’s way.
From installing wheelchair ramps to removing trip and slip hazards, here are the things you need to think about.
Inside and Out
Feeling secure at home shouldn’t be about battening down the hatches. True security is about feeling safe inside and out. For some older people, the fear of living alone comes down to their new vulnerability and the worry that they can’t move around easily to deal with any potential problems.
One option is to install a CCTV system so that an older person can see who is at the door without having to get up and find out. Smart home systems often offer the chance to talk to people through the closed door too, which is ideal for telling neighbors that they are on their way!
Trips, Slips and Clutter
Older people are more likely to fall for a wide range of reasons. However, preventing their fall, or at least giving them a chance to break their fall without hurting themselves is a very good idea.
Carpets will offer a softer landing and smartly positioned grab rails will help older people move around with confidence if they don’t want to use sticks indoors. Tacking down rugs and tucking any trip hazards such as wires or cords away is essential. Similarly, putting down a bath mat will help avoid slippery surfaces in the bathroom.
Decluttering is another significant way to help your relative to avoid accidents. A lifetime’s worth of stuff is difficult to sort through but, with the best will in the world, you’re going to have to sort it at some point. It’s better to start downsizing now while you can do it together.
Reminders and Clarity
Many older people start to struggle with things that were basic to them before and need memory aids to help them with day to day life. Cooking is a great example and many older people forget that they have left the hob on or can’t find a light in the night time. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start labeling things to make sure that it is perfectly clear what they do. So, sticking a glow in the dark star on a light switch could really help.
Losing control of their bladder can also be a common problem among older adults. Incontinence can be caused by aging, lifestyle choices, or health conditions. Urinary and fecal leakage can hinder the lives of older people and keep them from doing what they want. The cleanup also adds to their daily chores.
If your older relative suffers from incontinence, it’s best to persuade them to use incontinence protection garments and pads in a patient and compassionate manner. Many older adults are resistant to using incontinence protection, but they will also come around if you start an open and respectful conversation with them.
The easier you can make it for your relative to continue to live a normal and happy life, the better they will feel. However, do remember that for many older people, home safety isn’t just about adapting the home. You will also need to drop in more frequently to check they are okay and you may wish to find a service to help with chores and personal care later on too.
What are some things that you have done to help your senior family members feel more secure in their own homes? Let us know in the comments!