If your parents are one of millions of people who have made the decision to age in place, you probably have concerns about their safety while they are home. This is a well-founded concern, as the leading cause of injury among the elderly is falling. While this should be your primary concern, there are other safety risks in the home that you should correct while taking steps to reduce the likelihood of falling.
General Precautions to Take
The first step in making the home safe for your parents is to do a walk through, identifying specific problems. One of the first things to look for is that the walking paths are free of obstacles. This serves two purposes. The first is to reduce the likelihood of falling as your parent moves around in their daily life. The second is to ensure that an escape route is clear in case of evacuation due to fire or other disaster. While inspecting your parent’s home, ensure that staircases and walkways have adequate lighting. This may necessitate installing a lamp or new light fixture. Consider installing a sound-activated remote switch (such as one activated by clapping) to indoor lights.
Keeping your parents safe in the event of a fire is another primary concern. Make sure that there is a smoke alarm on every floor and place extra ones outside of the bedrooms. Set a yearly appointment in your phone or on your computer to change the batteries. Hang a small fire extinguisher in the kitchen at an easily accessible location. Remove the retaining strap on the safety ring to make it easier to operate. If you are concerned about the ring falling out or being lost, secure it with a piece of thread. The goal here is to remove any difficulty your parent may have in using the extinguisher. If your parent’s home has a fireplace, have it inspected yearly to ensure the flue is clear. As well, install a screen to prevent sparks and cinders from flying outward.
What Else Can You do?
There are many other things you can do to help your parents while making their home safer. If they take prescriptions, make sure that the bottles are in easy open containers, especially on-demand medication, such as glycerin. For daily medication, a pill container with days of the week clearly marked are helpful, as it removes the guesswork out of did they/didn’t they take their medication. You can buy four pill containers and paint them in different colors to measure out a month’s worth at a time.
One final thing that can be of great assistance for your elderly parent is to get them a medical alert system, such as our Pioneer medical alarms. Accidents happen, and if one occurs, you want your parent to get help quickly. Getting care within the golden hour is essential to make a full recovery. Pioneer medical alert buttons are designed to get them the help they need immediately.
When your parent has decided to stay in their home, for financial or emotional reasons, making sure they stay safe is one of your top priorities. Following these guidelines will help as you make their place safe against not only falls but also other hazards.