How to Keep the Elderly Safe at Home

Woman sitting on the bathroom floor after falling.

Ensuring the Safety of Elderly Loved Ones

Whether for their own home or if they’re moving in with you, elder safety is a serious concern. They took care of us and kept us safe – now it is our turn. We start this new chapter of their lives, and our own, with elderly home safety. Many of us on the younger end of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation are wondering, “Can I care for the elderly in my home?”

Perhaps you’re thinking your home is too small, too crowded, or too busy to house mom and dad, keeping elder safety in mind. Fortunately, there are many elder care safety products on the market today that make it possible to keep a parent, grandparent, or any other elderly family member in your home. 

Know the Essentials of Elderly Safety

The first thing you want to do is research and ask their medical professionals what is needed for proper elder safety in their opinion. Each doctor or medical professional will have a certain focus and you’ll want to find a way to incorporate them into your home while also maintaining your home. With the information they provide you, create an elder care home safety checklist. Now, begin your task of creating an environment that is an elder safe home, and still home for you and your family. 

So, how to make the home safer for the elderly? Here are ten elder safety steps to take before mom, dad, or a grandparent moves in with you: 

  1. Fall Hazards. Preventing falls is a huge concern for elder safety because it is the number one cause of injury for the elderly. For your part, do the following:
  • Toss the throw rugs. That decorative touch is a trip hazard for anyone in a walker or using a cane. 
  • Declutter. Keep clothes off the floor, keep shoes out of doorways, and remove any stacks of magazines or newspapers on the floor. 
  • Old, unusable furniture should be donated or tossed.
  • Create an open environment. For elderly in wheelchairs, you’ll need to widen doorways to a minimum 32” across. Eliminate tight corners at every doorway so maneuverability is easy. 
  • Don’t stretch extension cords across a room.
  • Make sure they wear non-slip footwear inside the house. 
  1. Have emergency numbers on hand. If your elderly loved one doesn’t have a cell phone, consider getting them one or have a landline installed. Make sure they know how to use the phone – the fewer bells, options, and whistles, the better. 

As we age, our brains don’t always remember things, especially in an emergency situation. Keep emergency numbers posted by each phone in the house in large block letters and numbers. Those emergency numbers should include: 

  • 911
  • Emergency numbers of family, friends, and neighbors
  • Your elderly loved one’s caregiving service
  • Your elderly loved one’s healthcare providers
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
  1. Fire Prevention. Just as you do with toddlers, you want to make your home void of any fire hazards and be prepared if there is a fire.
  • Keep the batteries refreshed in the carbon monoxide and carbon detectors on a regular basis.
  • Check all electric appliances, cords, and lamps and replace any that are damaged or frayed. Make sure power surge protectors and extension cores aren’t overloaded. 
  • Remove all candles from your home. 
  • Show your elderly loved one how and where to escape in case of a fire. Remind them of “Stop, Drop, and Roll” if they catch on fire. 
  • Remove all space heaters.
  1. Bathroom Elderly Safety. The bathroom is a risky room where elderly individuals are prone to falling and being scalded. Address the following issues to minimize this issue:
  • Install elderly safety bars in the shower and next to the toilet.
  • Set the water heater thermostat at 120° F.
  • Put slip resistant rubber mats in the tub.
  • Consider installing a walk-in bathtub model.
  • Place a bath stool in the tub or shower. 
  • Install a hand-held showerhead.
  • Install a raised toilet seat with handlebars. 
  • Remove mirrors.
  • Install nightlights in the bathroom and hallways. 

There are other ways to make homes safer for the elderly from the bedroom to the kitchen, including special lighting and stairways. There are also elderly safety assistance programs that can provide you a guide and even come to your home to inspect, survey, and suggest changes. 

Older woman's hand holding a bathroom rail.

In Closing 

When it comes to elder care and safety, we can’t be too careful. The same diligence we used when our children were toddlers must now be used for the safety of our parents and grandparents. The market is full of elderly safety devices that will assure their safety and make life easier for them and you. And if you are interested in elder safety in Bartonville, TX to help keep your elder loved one safe, reach out to the AZTX Walk In Tubs, LLC team at (972) 695-3027.