As a company, Green Tree Home Care is committed to helping our clients live enjoyable lives in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

We realize that safety is a huge concern for families when it comes to senior care planning.

In the United States, one in three people aged 65 or more will fall at least once a year.

The consequence of a fall is an increase in injuries that result in hospitalizations that cost a lot of money. Changes in cognition and judgment also put elderly adults at an increased risk for injury and illness.

This article address some of the major safety concerns and how you can help ensure your loved one stays safe at home.

Preventing Falls – 10 Tips

Falls are a major concern when it comes to the safety of an aging adult.

It is a serious problem – but one which has very simple and implementable solutions and will help your loved one stay safe at home.

10 Ways To Prevent Falls In The Home

  1. Get rid of tripping hazards. Tape down or remove area rugs. Objects like furniture or shoes, that obstruct walkways, should be moved out of walkways.
  2. Keep floors dry as much as possible. In areas of the home that routinely get wet like the bathroom or kitchen, non-slip mats should cover the floor. Mop up water and other liquid spills immediatly. 
  3. Support structures in the shower/bathroom such as a railings are extremely helpful. Seniors can hold onto these for extra support as they bathe themselves.
  4. You may want to consider stairlifts for a two story home. If you are not sure if your long term insurance plan covers it, call to ask if these types of mobility devices are supported.
  5. Another safety precaution for staircases are grab-bars or railings that allow the older adult to hold on as they ascend or descend.
  6. If the home has a bedroom on the first floor that does not need a staircase to access, consider relocating your bedroom here.The less seniors have to move up a staircase, the less risk for falls and injuries.
  7. Lighting should be adequate. It is natural for older adults to wake up at night to use the bathroom. Having night lights strategically placed in their path will help them find their way to and fro.
  8. How long has it been since your loved one had an eye health check up ? Problems with vision can contribute to fall and subsequent injuries.
  9. Encourage seniors to participate in a low impact strength training regimen to improve leg strength and balance.
  10. If your loved one uses mobility assistive devices, such as a walker, make sure it is correctly measured for their height and weight and that she is comfortable with it.

Preventing Burns – 8 Tips

Fire safety is another concern that arises as seniors age. There have been reports of people leaving a kettle on and accidentally falling asleep only to wake-up to find a raging fire. Changes in judgment and memory increase the likelihood of accidental fires and burns.

Preventing something as tragic as a fire starts with taking some of the simple steps below.

  1. Check to make sure fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are up to date, functioning and have new batteries in them. Early alerts through an alarm can help seniors get out of their house on time.
  2. Smoking in bed is a big no-no. Especially so if your senior loved on has an oxygen tank in the house with them.
  3. Ensure that all stove burners are off before heading to bed.
  4. If you smell a gas leak, don’t hesitate. Report it immediately.
  5. Turn off any burning candles before you go to bed.
  6. Have the temperature of your hot water heater tested and adjusted to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  7. Avoid electrical blankets as much as possible. They are warm and cuddly but are very much a fire hazard.
  8. Have a fire extinguisher on hand at home to put out small fires.

Preventing Medication Errors – 3 Tips

Medication errors are just as dangerous as falls and fire injuries.

It just takes an overdose or a dangerous combination of otherwise safe medications to create a major medical incident.

  1. Check medications against the latest doctor order to ensure medications are correct and in date.
  2. If vision is a problem, make sure to let the pharmacy know to write the instructions in big font.
  3. As a caregiver, it is always good to educate yourself on drug combinations that can be dangerous. Speak to the doctor or pharmacist and ask for print outs of such combinations.

Closing Thoughts

Safety at home is a key concern for seniors. If your loved one is experiencing falls, lapses in judgment, and medication mistakes, it may be time to bring in outside support. You can contact our client services team to find out if your loved one is appropriate for home care.

As a family caregiver, you can help your client or senior loved one take charge of safety by applying the tips just shared in this post.

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