Making your home safe for the elderly
Most people know about child proofing a home. But few realize that making your house safe for an elderly relative, is equally important. This is called ‘seniorizing’ your home. Senior citizens find a lot of household chores difficult to do. They could get this help in a senior home, but most prefer to remain in their own homes for as long as they can. Some get the help of part time caregivers to help them with their chores, and only when absolutely necessary, agree to go in for full time caregivers. But till the time comes when the help of others is essential, seniors try to do it on their own.
Many seniors refuse to accept the fact that they are getting old, and continue doing all their household chores themselves, much to the despair of their children. They become rebellious, if any advice is given to them on ‘giving up some chores’ or ‘taking it easy’. What children or other family members should do at this stage, is make sure that the home is safe for the senior citizen. Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself concerning the safety of an elderly relative.
1. In case of fire:
* Are there easy to reach escape routes?
* Are there smoke alarms on every floor?
* Do the smoke alarms work?
* Is there a fire extinguisher which is easily reachable?
* Are fire places screened well?
* Is there an emergency plan in case of a fire?
* Level out raised thresholds
* Make sure that the flooring has a good grip. In case it is a slippery kind of flooring, you do not need to install new flooring, but can get a carpet or rubber flooring, and lay it over the slippery floor, to make sure that your senior does not have an accident.
* Remove small rugs and carpets as an elderly person could trip over it or slip on it.
* If a carpet gets torn, get it repaired. If floor boards are loose, fix them.
* Make sure that there is no low furniture in corridors or pathways.
* Remove any electrical cords or cables that lie across pathways. You can paste or tack them to the walls.
* If you have slippery floors and can’t afford to lay new flooring over it, use non skid wax on them.
* If there are any spills, wipe them immediately.
* Make sure that the home is well lit.
* Make sure that the switches for lights are close to the door, so that the lights can be switched on before moving into a room.
* Make sure corridors and stairways are lit well.
* Have nightlights along the bottom part of the wall so that your senior citizen can see their way around, if they need to move about the
housein the night.
* Fix handrails in the bathroom
* Removable, suction bathroom matting is available that are easy to clean and give a good grip.
* Place bath chairs or stools
* Keep all bath products within easy reach
* A hand faucet for bathing is helpful.
5. Other hazards
* Carbon monoxide is a hazard. Get a carbon monoxide detector.
* Put rubber tips on walker or crutches to make sure that it doesn’t slip.
* Fix strong handrails to your stairs.
* Fix strips of rubber to the outside tip of the stair to avoid slips.
Try and help a senior be as independent as possible for as long as possible, by making their environment an easier place for them to live in. Just being able to look after themselves, efficiently and independently will boost their confidence no end!