Making Your Home Safe For Your Aging Loved One

6/18/2015

 

Given the choice, many seniors prefer to live at home as long as they can rather than moving into an assisted living facility. And thanks to such services as our Maryland senior home care, aging safely at home is quite realistic, as well as less financially straining than paying an annual fee for a nursing home.

But what about safety? Isn’t it dangerous to leave my 75-year-old mom alone in her home?

That’s a valid question and one you should definitely address before opting for in-home care. Be sure to consult with your caregiver first—at 2nd Family we do a walk-through with every client to identify potential home safety concerns and ways to eliminate them. From our experience, here are a few steps you can take to “senior-proof” the space and make it safer for your loved one.

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Basic Home Safety

The following safety measures should be implemented regardless of the age of the persons occupying the home:

  • Clear, unblocked fire escape routes
  • Smoke alarms with working batteries on every floor
  • Fire extinguisher on every floor
  • Carbon monoxide detector installed
  • Door locks can be easily opened from the inside by all family members
  • All areas of the home are well-lit

Tripping Hazards

As we age, our health declines on many levels, making us more likely to fall in situations where a younger person wouldn’t find any difficulties. Due to poor eyesight, poor balance and slow reaction time, even a minor tripping hazard may lead to a serious injury. And if your loved one uses a cane, a walker or a wheelchair, they are at an even greater risk of falls. Look around your home and try to eliminate or make adjustments to the following tripping hazards:

  • Clutter and bulky furniture that block pathways
  • Throw rugs placed on slick flooring
  • Raised doorway thresholds
  • Staircases and steps
  • Uneven or damaged flooring
  • Electrical cords
  • Pet toys and other small items

Some of these hazards can be eliminated completely. For example, you can install a threshold ramp to get rid of uneven floor levels. Other hazards will need to be minimized. For instance, you can’t get rid of the staircase, but you could install a stair lift or move everything your loved one needs on the first floor, so that they don’t need to climb the stairs at all. In addition to all of the above, make sure that railings and grab bars are installed securely everywhere they are needed.

Bathroom Safety

The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house when it comes to senior safety. It’s small, filled with slippery surfaces and sharp corners, and it’s also one of the most frequented rooms in the house. You don’t have to remodel it completely, but a few adjustments can be made to make it a bit safer:

  • Install grab bars by the toilet and inside the shower/tub area
  • Place non-slip mats inside and outside of the shower/tub
  • Use a raised toilet seat if your loved one has weak legs or painful joints
  • Install a transfer bench to easily get in and out of the tub
  • Install an anti-scalding device

If you want to go the extra mile, you can replace your old bathtub with a walk-in bathtub that eliminates the need to climb in and out of the tub. It’s a great option for seniors who want to maintain their independence when using the bathroom.

Daily Activities

To make it safe and comfortable for your loved one to continue aging at home, you need to think about the activities they do on a daily basis and try to simplify them. For example, if your loved one wakes up in the middle of the night to grab a fresh glass of water, put a water dispenser by their bed. If they like to cook, move the cooking supplies and utensils to the bottom cabinets. Once our caregivers come to help out and keep your loved one company for a few weeks, we can make recommendations on what, if anything, can be done to improve their daily lives.

Want to learn more about our services or how to make your home safer for your aging loved one? Feel free to call us or contact online. We have offices in Eldersburg and Towson, Maryland, providing in-home senior care to the surrounding areas.

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Baltimore County: Baldwin (21013), Cockeysville (21030), Hunt Valley (21031), Ellicott City (21043), Fork (21051), Freeland (21053), Glen Arm (21057), Glyndon (21071), Hampstead (21074), Hydes (21082), Joppa (21085), Kingsville (21087), Lutherville (21093, 21094), Timonium (21204), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Monkton (21111), Owings Mills (21117), Parkton (21120), Perry Hall (21128), Phoenix (21131), Randallstown (21133), Reisterstown (21136), Sparks Glencoe (21152), Stevenson (21153), Upperco (21155), Upper Falls (21156), White Hall (21161), White Marsh (21162), Woodstock (21163), Towson (21204, 21286), Gwynn Oak (21207), Pikesville (21208), Baltimore (21206, 21209, 21210, 21212, 21215, 21224, 21229, 21235, 21239, 21241, 21250, 21252, 21282, 21284, 21285), Sparrows Point (21219), Middle River (21220), Essex (21221),Dundalk (21222), Halethorpe (21227), Catonsville (21228), Parkville (21234), Nottingham (21236), Rosedale (21237), Windsor Mill (21244), Boring (21020), Brooklandville (21022), Butler (21023), Chase (21027), Fort Howard (21052), Hunt Valley (21065), Long Green (21092), Maryland Line (21105), Riderwood (21139)

Baltimore City: Baltimore (21201, 21202, 21205, 21211, 21214, 21216, 21218, 21231, 21251, 21287, 21203, 21233, 21263, 21264, 21265, 21270, 21273, 21274, 21275, 21278, 21279, 21280, 21281, 21283, 21288, 21290, 21297, 21298), Raspeburg (21206), Gwynn Oak (21207), Pikesville (21208), Mt Washington (21209), Roland Park (21210), Govans (21212), Clifton (21213), Arlington (21215), Druid (21217), Dundalk (21222), Franklin (21223), Highlandtown (21224), Brooklyn (21225), Curtis Bay (21226), Halethorpe (21227), Catonsville (21228), Carroll (21229), Morrell Park (21230), Parkville (21234), Nottingham (21236), Rosedale (21237), Northwood (21239)

Howard County: Annapolis Junction (20701), Laurel (20723), Fulton (20759), Savage (20763), Highland (20777), Jessup (20794), Brookeville (20833), Clarksville (21029), Dayton (21036), Ellicott City (21042, 21043, 21041), Columbia (21044, 21045, 21046), Elkridge (21075), Hanover (21076), Marriottsville (21104), Woodstock (21163), Cooksville (21723), Glenelg (21737), Glenwood (21738), Mount Airy (21771), Sykesville (21784), West Friendship (21794), Woodbine (21797), Simpsonville (21150), Lisbon (21765

Montgomery County: Laurel (20707), Highland (20777), Glen Echo (20812), Bethesda (20814, 20816, 20817, 20889, 20892, 20894, 20813, 20824, 20827), Chevy Chase (20815, 20825), Cabin John (20818), Olney (20832, 20830), Brookeville (20833), Barnesville (20838), Beallsville (20839), Boyds (20841), Dickerson (20842), Rockville (20850, 20851, 20852, 20853, 20847, 20848, 20849) Potomac (20854, 20859), Derwood (20855), Sandy Spring (20860), Ashton (20861), Brinklow (20862), Burtonsville (20866), Spencerville (20868), Clarksburg (20871), Damascus (20872), Germantown (20874, 20876, 20875), Gaithersburg (20877, 20878, 20879, 20882, 20899, 20884, 20885, 20898), Montgomery Village (20886), Kensington (20895, 20891), Silver Spring (20901, 20902, 20903, 20904, 20905, 20906, 20910, 20907, 20908, 20911, 20914, 20915, 20916), Takoma Park (20912, 20913), Mount Airy (21771), Woodbine (21797), Washington (20088), Hyattsville (20787), Washington Grove (20880), Garrett Park (20896)

Frederick County: Frederick (21701, 21702, 21703), Woodsboro (21798), New Market (21774), Walkersville (21793) Monrovia (21770), Clarksburg (20871), Ijamsville (21754)

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