According to a 2018 report from the AARP, 90% of Americans aged 65+ want to live in their current homes for as long as possible. Sadly, more than 93,000 people die in home-related accidents every year, including many victims who are elderly. More troubling is the fact that most of those fatal mishaps could have been prevented by taking some simple precautions. If there’s a special senior in your life, take a few minutes to share these home safety tips with them.
Most Common Home Accidents for Seniors
With respect to older adults, falls inside or outside the home account for roughly 25% of all hospital admissions and 40% of all nursing home admissions. Once admitted to the hospital, 40% of injured seniors then lose their independence permanently. Sadly, approximately 25% die within one year.
Fires sparked by heating equipment, smoking, and cooking are another leading cause of home accidents in the elderly, resulting in burns, smoke inhalation injuries, and fire-related fatalities.
Other common at-home accidents that injure or kill millions of seniors every year include:
- Food poisoning
- Burns, including those caused by scalding water
- Choking on food
- Drowning in a pool or bathtub
- Exposure to natural heat or cold
Home Safety Tips for Senior Loved Ones
As a concerned party, the best way to keep your aging loved one from becoming another statistic is by doing an annual home safety assessment. Here’s what to look for:
Slippery surfaces, tight spaces, and sharp corners make bathrooms dangerous places for seniors. You can make your loved one’s bathroom safer are by installing handrails next to the toilet and in the bathing area. Additionally, buying them a shower chair, handheld shower wand, and adding more lighting are great ways to help prevent accidents.
If your senior is spending more time in front of the TV, living room safety should also be a priority. Eliminate trips hazards like slippery throw rugs, furniture pieces, and electrical cords. If they have trouble getting up and down, find them a lift chair recliner. Further restore your peace of mind by setting them up with a medical alert system and an indoor security camera.
As the heart of the home, the kitchen presents many safety challenges for forgetful seniors. Keep your favorite chef safe by installing automatic shut-off devices on the stove and oven, along with a kitchen faucet that has an anti-scalding feature. Help them arrange food and cookware items within arm’s reach and prevent food poisoning incidents by periodically checking the expiration dates on dried goods and refrigerated items.
A night light is handy for any senior who gets up and down during the night. Also, be sure that the hallways and walkways are well-lit and clutter-free. If your senior is prone to falling out of bed, a bed rail is a simple yet reliable way to keep them safe.
All steps and stairways should be well-lit with handrails on both sides. They should also be highlighted with fluorescent tape on the top and bottom steps. If your loved one has trouble climbing stairs, it may be time to invest in a good stair lift. Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, or another senior program may help cover some of the cost.
Venture outside the home to check for potential hazards, like loose steps or burned-out light bulbs. If your loved one uses an assistive device or wheelchair to get around, adding a ramp to the home will help prevent falling accidents. Depending on the need, you can have a ramp built or purchase one online.
An Extra Layer of Safety in Your Senior Loved One’s Home
Protecting seniors from accidents around the home isn’t always possible when you can’t be there all the time. As a locally owned and family-operated provider, Colonial Home Care Services makes it easy for families to keep their aging loved ones safe- even with little notice in an emergency. At Colonial Home Care Services, we take great pride in carefully selecting and thoroughly screening our caregivers to ensure all have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and personality.
As a family-trusted home care provider serving Orange County, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding communities, Colonial Home Care Services has been providing peace of mind to those we serve for over 25 years. To learn more now about our award-winning home care services, or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in our service area today, please visit us at www.colonialhomecareservices.com.