With the population aging, it's important to know how to keep the elderly safe. More people are keeping older family members in their homes, rather than nursing facilities, so home-safety tips are extremely important. Just as childproofing is important, so is making the home of an elderly person safe.
Rugs and Electrical Cords
Falling is the most reported accident involving senior citizens. Eyesight is diminished, or they may be unsteady when they walk. Ensure throw rugs and loose carpeting are secured and don't pose a tripping hazard for an elderly person. Check that all cords and wires are placed where no one can trip over them, especially if the elderly person is using a walker. However, never run wires or cords underneath rugs or carpet; that's a fire hazard.
Inspect electrical outlets for exposed wire and feel for heat. If either of these conditions exist, they can cause shocks. It's best to immediately call an electrician.
Space Heaters and Woodburning Stoves
Plug space heaters with three prongs into sockets of the same nature in order to avoid shocks. In addition, you need to place heaters in areas with minimal foot traffic to prevent accidental tipping that could start a fire.
Install non-skid mats in the bathtub, since more accidents occur in the bathroom than in any other room in the house. Prevent scalding by testing the water temperature; it should not exceed 120 degrees. Handrails also assist elders getting in and out of the bathtub and can prevent falls.
Replace blown light bulbs in dark areas of the home, especially around stairs. Tighten the screws along handrails, so they are steady and secure, and remove throw rugs near stairs.
Provide your senior loved one with a cell phone or call-alert device, which should be with them at all times. If an accident occurs, they can call for help quickly. Enlisting the help of an assisted living agency provides added security and companionship, especially if the agency's staff visit often and keep track of your senior's health and home.