Countless informal caregivers are injured each year while assisting loved ones in their private residences. Sometimes even while their caregivers are there, additional accidents around the home claim scores of elderly victims. Some lose their independence permanently as a result. Sadly, most of those mishaps could have easily been avoided if their caregivers had received the proper training. Using the following home modification safety tips will help ensure that you and your loved one don’t become another accident statistic.
Falls are the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65+. Most fall-related accidents occur in the victim’s home. Age-related changes such as declining hearing and vision, bone density loss, and balance issues can all place independent seniors – and their caregivers – at risk.
Keep you and your loved one safe by taking these fall-prevention steps:
- Ensure that all areas of the home are well-lit, notably above stairways.
- Remove trip-and-fall hazards such as clutter, electric cords, rugs, and small furniture from pathways.
- Exercise regularly to improve your balance and strength.
- Install handrails near bathing and toileting areas and along stairways.
- Place no-slip strips or non-skid mats on tile or wood surfaces that may get wet.
- Wear non-slip footwear on smooth surfaces and clean up spills when they happen.
- Use a cane or walker instead of holding onto furniture or walls.
Fires are a risk in any senior’s home, especially when oxygen is in use. Here’s how to reduce your fire risk:
- Place smoke detectors with fresh batteries around the home.
- Never leave unattended candles or fires burning.
- Avoid smoking or open flames near oxygen tanks.
- Keep an operational fire extinguisher on every floor.
- Check appliances for frayed power cords.
- Leave at least three feet between heaters and anything flammable.
This home safety issue most often affects seniors who take a lot of different medications. Here’s how to keep yours from becoming another accidental poisoning statistic:
- Install high-quality carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas.
- Never heat the home with a stove or oven.
- Have their furnace inspected every autumn by a certified HVAC technician.
- Do not mix cleaning products that contain bleach or ammonia.
- Keep medications labeled and organized in their original containers.
- Only hand out or take medications as directed.
Invest in a Patient Lift
Many caregivers suffer debilitating sprains and strains while attempting to move heavier loved ones from one place to another – for instance, out of bed and into a wheelchair. Commonly used by healthcare professionals in hospitals and nursing homes, a patient lift is a medical device designed to lift someone safely from one place to another. Depending on how much you want to spend, patient lifts come in powered and manual versions.
According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, product-related injuries send roughly three million elderly Americans to hospital emergency departments each year. Some are forced to move out of their homes due to their injuries. These are some ways to reduce your loved one’s risk of getting injured while using a consumer product:
- Be sure items stored in the home are up-to-date and that they do not pose hazards.
- Check for recalls on products.
- Address any issues posed by products that commonly cause injuries, such as stairs, ramps, floors, furniture, stepstools, ladders, exercise equipment, bathtubs, showers, desks, shelving, clothing, etc.
Hire a Professional Caregiver
If you’re still unsure about how to make your loved one’s home environment safer and more comfortable, a professional caregiver can provide the assistance you need. When hired through a reputable provider, your newfound “personal assistant” will have the required training and experience, allowing you both to sleep better at night!
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
Trying to keep you and your aging loved one safe and comfortable when you lack the proper training isn’t easy. Put your mind at ease by contacting the experienced home care professionals at Home Instead. Conveniently available in Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte Country, FL, our senior care services help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home delivered with a human touch.
Our reliable in-home solutions help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support to stay safe and well at home. At Home Instead, it is always our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your family’s needs – bringing you all comfort, companionship, and peace of mind. To learn more or schedule a time to talk with one of our home care specialists, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.