Home safety should be a concern at any age, particularly for seniors. In fact, injuries from falls, home fires, and medication errors are much more common among those 65 and older for reasons that may include weaker muscles, more brittle bones, slower reaction times, impaired vision and balance, or perhaps even diminished cognitive abilities. There are ways to reduce the risks though.
Home safety tips for seniors
1. Fall-proof your home: Clearing walking paths, adding handrails to both sides of the stairs, having adequate lighting, removing throw rugs, installing grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom, and getting a reach stick for items that are up high to avoid standing on step stools are all excellent ways to reduce the risk of falls. Also, ensure you have the appropriate mobility devices to safely move around your home.
2. Practice fire safety: Make sure to stay in the kitchen while cooking and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes. Keep flammable items like dishtowels, paper/plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet from your cooktop, and keep grills 10 feet away from the house, shrubs, or bushes. If you need to use space heaters, keep them at least three feet from anything flammable, and always turn them off when leaving the room. Also, have someone inspect your furnace and/or fireplace yearly, check smoke/carbon monoxide detectors monthly (which you should have on every floor and near every bedroom), and have easily accessible fire extinguishers. You might also consider installing a home fire sprinkler. Lastly, never leave a room with a candle burning, and don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
For more information on senior living in Hillsborough Township, download our Stay or Go Guide!
3. Carefully manage medications: You may not initially think of this as a part of home safety, but we know how hard it can be to manage multiple prescriptions each day, which is why you need to be extra vigilant to avoid errors. Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly and read the package insert. Also, make sure to take medications for the duration of the prescription (even if you feel better), refill prescriptions early so you don’t run out, and use pill organizers or apps to keep track of your medications as well as dosage times.
4. Be prepared for emergencies: In addition to 911, ensure you have poison control as well as your neighbors’ phone numbers handy. Also, identify at least two ways to exit your home in an emergency. Consider getting a generator in case of a power outage to keep oxygen machines functioning. What’s more, a personal emergency response system (a wearable call button that contacts first responders and/or a friend or family member if you need emergency help) is a must for home safety.
5. Beware of scams targeting seniors: We consider this a part of home safety, too, as many seniors fall victim to scams. To protect yourself, don’t be pressured into making a purchase, signing contracts, or making donations until you’ve discussed it with a trusted friend or family member. Also, never share personal information (SSN, credit card or bank account numbers, or passwords), always ask for written details of offers or prizes, and wait to respond until you have reviewed them thoroughly.
6. Drive safely: When living at home, driving is typically a necessity, so it’s important to keep up with regular physicals as well as hearing and vision checkups to manage any issue that could affect your driving proactively. In addition, AARP and AAA offer safe driving refresher courses that can improve your safety and help you better understand vehicle technology. Completion may also result in auto insurance discounts.
Senior living in Hillsborough Township: A safe alternative
While these tips can certainly improve home safety for seniors, they can be a lot to manage. Not to mention the cost of safety upgrades such as grab bars and handrails, wheelchair ramps, or more substantial remodeling to widen doorways or adjust flooring.
On the other hand, with senior living in Hillsborough Township, communities are designed specifically to include home safety features such as emergency response systems, grab bars, ramps, generators, and transportation as standard. But these communities have plenty of other benefits that can also be harder to come by at home, such as maintenance-free living, a full calendar of social and enrichment opportunities, and a host of resort-like amenities. They not only make life more convenient but also help you make the most out of senior living in Hillsborough Township!