As a parent, relative or older friend ages and becomes more frail, it's natural to be concerned about their safety when you aren't around. Thankfully there are many ways you can provide security and make their home safer. Here we discuss ways you can protect a senior from falls, accidents, and mistakes all over their home—from the bathroom to the kitchen, bedroom and beyond.
1. Reduce fall risks around the home.
- Declutter their home. If your senior has a crowded home, help them remove anything that might stand in the way of walkways.
- Create large walkways by moving any furniture or small items that could be tripped over.
- Remove area rugs and cords from high-traffic areas.
- Repair uneven flooring and carpeting.
- If your senior can do mobility and balance exercises, consider a program of simple videos for them to practice to stay mobile and healthy.
2. Safety-proof the bathroom.
- Get a nightlight for the bathroom, and the walk from the bedroom to the bathroom.
- Install grab bars and a removable shower-head in the shower.
- Get no-slip mats for the shower, and perhaps get a bathing chair for the tub.
- Consider a Dignity Lift toilet lift for the toilet. Dignity Lifts help your senior stand up slowly and easily from the toilet.
3. Check in often, and provide emergency numbers.
- Check in with your senior often—sometimes unannounced, to get a feel for how they are doing. If you don't live in the area, consider a part-time caretaker or neighbor for checkins.
- You can always call to check in as well. You might consider a weekly time where you can catch up and speak about any concerns they might have, and check in around paying bills, things that need fixing around the house, and what they've been up to.
- Provide phone numbers somewhere they can see them, like on the fridge. Provide local emergency contacts, their healthcare providers, and their caregiving service, if applicable.
4. Make their house easy to live in.
- Organize their items so that things they use are easy to reach and don't require reaching or getting up on a stool.
- Buy them sensible, no-slip shoes for use in the home.
- Replace round door knobs with levers.
- Supply plenty of accessible light sources.
- Consider railings or stair lifts for any stairs.