Senior Safety: 5 Ways to Safer Living Space

Posted by Mike McQuinn on September 19, 2014 | no comments

Safety is key when it comes to creating a comfortable and healthy living space for you or your loved one here in Littleton, Colorado. It is a known fact that more seniors suffer debilitating falls in their homes compared to any other place. Seniors can often experience balance issues, dizzy spells, and mobility or visibility deficiencies that increase the chance for falls and injuries.

In light of this, it is important to take inventory of your loved one’s assisted living space; to make sure that their environment is safe. These are some ways that you can create a safer living environment for seniors.

1. Prevent Falls

Stairs, slippery floors, and hazards in walkways are the main culprits for falls and accidents among seniors. Here are steps you can take to reduce the chances of falling or tripping.

You can:

  • Add a strip of colored tape or lighting on the bottom step.
  • Place handrails in and out of the shower and by the toilet.
  • Use no-slip mats in bathrooms.
  • Avoid throw rugs in the living room, bedrooms and hallways.
  • Place electrical cords outside of the walkways.
  • Use night-lights when it is dark.
  • Have a mop to clean up spills easily.
  • Remove casters from the bottom of furniture to prevent slipping.

2. Reduce Fire Hazards

Compared to the general population, older adults are 2.7 times more likely to die in a fire. Causes of fires include the use of medical oxygen, electrical sources, and cooking (which is the #1 cause of fires for seniors). One basic step is to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors. Additionally, periodically check smoke detectors and replace batteries regularly.

Here are some tips to reduce fire hazards:

  • Stand by your pan while cooking.
  • If a cooking fire occurs, put a lid on it.
  • Get educated on the use of medical oxygen.
  • Create an escape/response plan in the event of a fire.
  • Do a mock fire drill with your loved one.

3. Create Ergonomically Friendly Spaces

Ergonomically friendly senior living homes allow your loved one to live comfortably and safely without putting unnecessary strain on their muscles and joints. Not only do you want comfortable furniture, but easy to handle items as well.

Some great ergonomic ideas are:
Handheld shower heads.
Easy to reach lamps.
Handrails or grab rails in the bathroom and kitchen.
Plastic utensils and dishes instead of glass/porcelain dishes and standard knives.

4. Increase Accessibility

In addition to removing area rugs, you can also remove furniture from walkways and hallways. This will help create a clutter-free walk area. Chair lifts are a great way to make sitting and getting up much easier. Also, double-check the hallways and doorways to make sure they are wide enough for mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers. Lastly, too tall or too low cabinets can present a challenge. Have a grabber/reach tool available to reach items on kitchen shelves.

5. Install Security Measures

Home security systems are great, but more importantly you want to buy cellular phones made specifically for seniors, or panic pendants if your loved one falls or an intruder enters. Many of the systems will alert medics or send an alert or text to family and/or friends. You should always make sure emergency contact information and an easily accessible way to dial 9-1-1 is in place in case of emergencies.

It is important to take a proactive approach when creating a safe place to live for seniors. To get more information or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.

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