Home Safety for the Elderly - A Safety Checklist
As the human body ages, functions begin to weaken, including eyesight, equilibrium and hearing. Here are a few helpful tips to keep yourself or your loved one safe while living at home.
- Be sure that the bedroom has these 3 things accessible from the bed: Light, Phone, Clock.
- Rugs can be hazardous - remove throw rugs or tape the edges down to prevent toes from slipping under them during walking.
- Clutter is dangerous, especially when navigating through a dimly lit house at night. Make sure pathways are clear.
- Phone lines or power cords running across floors should be re-routed along the wall, taped down when necessary to prevent tripping.
- Be sure to have functional smoke alarms and a small fire extinguisher handy. Keep instruction manuals and maintenance records.
After hip/back surgery, or fractured leg/foot
- Be sure that all items kept in bottom cupboards, shelves, closets, or under sinks that are used on a daily basis are moved to higher areas. This is usually a temporary arrangement during the healing process.
- Be sure to have a basic pot, a few plates and cups, and utensils in easy reaching distance, maybe kept in a dish-drainer on the counter.
- Frozen foods or easy-to-reach items on the top shelf of a refrigerator will be handy for light meal preparations.
- Buy milk and juices in half-gallons! A whole gallon of liquid weighs about 8 pounds, often times too heavy for post-surgical times.
After heart surgery
- Avoid steamy showers and extreme temperature changes.
- Most surgeons will recommend that you avoid lifting your arms above 90 degrees for a certain period of time - check with your doctor.
- Lifting heavy objects is generally also not recommended - ask your doctor for specifics and buy grocery items in lighter, smaller containers as needed.
- Use carts to carry bags or laundry. 4-wheeled walkers will also help with these tasks.
At home with low vision
- Use bright colors to label/mark important things like light switches, oven/stove controls, phone, etc.
- Use textures when possible - tape a cotton ball over a flat button so it is palpable.
- Get a timed medication dispenser with an audible alarm - some will even open on their own.
Stay Connected to Safety
- Life Alert
Personal and Medical Emergency Protection
- Senior Cell Phone Calling Plans
Keeping a cell phone in your pocket means instant access to 911 or a nearby neighbor or family member in the event of an emergency.
- Senior Cell Phones
Jitterbug Dial is ideal if you want an easy to use cellular phone to dial direct and keep in touch.
- Consider other means of communication with the outside world should immediate assistance be needed. What if you need:
- Fire Department?
- Homemaker aides can assist with daily chores and basic self-care needs. Find out if your insurance will provide coverage for these services.
- Adult day-care centers offer a variety of activities, provide lunch, usually have pick up and drop off service, and even have therapy services. Call your local centers to find out about their programs.
- Don't forget about Meals-on-Wheels.
- Adult Day Care Centers: A Guide to Options and Selecting the Best Center for Your Needs
A guide to adult day care options and selecting the best adult day care center for your needs.
The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. The Eldercare Locator is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community.
Meals on Wheels Association of America - locate a center near you.
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