Aging in place is becoming a preferred option for many aging adults in the US. HomeAdvisor published AARP survey results that found that 73-percent of those surveyed said they want to stay in their current residence instead of moving to an institution or nursing home. As boomers start experiencing the unavoidable physical limitations placed on them with advancing years, there are things they can modify or do to ensure their continued home safety.
Home safety tip #1: Remove any items that might get in the way and cause a person to trip and fall.
CDC reports that falls account for the most injuries for seniors over 65 years old resulting in about 3 million emergency room visits during 2018. As eyesight falters and reflexes slow down, it is important to prevent accidents. Keeping the floor free from pet toys, books, shoes, rugs that slide and large vases or pieces of furniture that impede walkways is the best way to safeguard against preventable accidents.
Aging in place safety tip #2: Modify the bathroom to make it more comfortable and safer for seniors.
CDC reports that an alarming 230,000 people are injured in their bathrooms annually. This high-risk area deserves extra attention as boomers determine the best ways to remain safe in their everyday activities. While most of these accidents are the result of falling, there are others concerns to consider too when safeguarding the bathroom.
Below are some strategies to consider.
- Add grab bars next to the toilet and tub.
- Improve the lighting by using night lights.
- Install a bathing seat in the shower to prevent overexertion.
- Add a raised toilet seat.
- Consider installing a walk-in bathtub if possible.
- Remove items that might get in the way and cause you to trip.
- Prevent burns by adjusting hot water temperatures so they are no hotter than 120 F.
Home safety tip #3: Take steps to prevent and prepare for a fire.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that adults over 65 are killed or injured at twice the rate of younger people. That’s why baby boomers should make a concerted effort to add fire detectors and extinguishers to their home.
NFPA recommends sleeping on the ground floor level so that it is easy to escape in the event of an emergency. Smoke alarms should be strategically placed in every bedroom. You should always keep a phone in each bedroom in case of an emergency.
Consider conducting a fire drill so you and your family know exactly what to do in case of a fire. Check each window and door to be sure you can open it easily. Verify that everyone can hear the alarm. For people who are hearing impaired, it is recommended that a flashing light be used in conjunction with an audible alarm.
Home safety tip #4: Keep your home secure from break-ins and uninvited visitors posing as salesman and repairmen.
It is important to install deadbolts on all of your doors. This modification will keep most burglars from being able to enter.
While it is understandable that we all let our hair down at home, it is important to always keep all of your doors locked. If you are in the basement or garage, you don’t want to forget to lock up. You have to assume that people intent on theft or crime will be watching for someone to slip up.
Never let a stranger in your home. When waiting for a repairman, be sure to verify with the company’s office the person’s name, car and uniform if applicable.
Should a person show up at your front door due to an emergency and ask to use your phone, don’t open the door. Tell them you will make the call for them.
Home safety tip #5: Have emergency numbers on hand.
It’s always a good idea to have emergency numbers handy so that you can respond quickly in the case of an emergency. Writing them down so that they are available is also a smart move.
Some numbers to have on hand are:
- Poison control
- Family member or friend
- Healthcare provider’s office
Home safety tip #6: Embrace technology.
Technology offers many security gadgets that work well for seniors as they prepare to age in place at home. While the obvious benefits of shopping online and ordering food or groceries via a smartphone are now commonplace, seniors are also reaching out to arm their homes with smart home devices to keep them safe.
One gadget that has gotten a lot of attention is the Nest Protect which operates as a carbon monoxide and smoke detector. Instead of knocking you out of bed with a loud alarm, this detector speaks in a human voice alerting you of the danger. It will also provide much-needed details about the location and levels affected.
Security cameras have become inexpensive and popular with models being sold for as little as $20. The Wyze Cam v2 camera is a favorite choice. It operates like a baby monitor and allows you to view your entire home. It also allows you a view of your porch which comes in handy when packages are delivered or to verify the identity of who is standing there. No expensive monthly subscription is necessary.
Baby boomers recognize the many benefits of staying at home as they grow older. By making a few home modifications, there is no good reason why seniors can’t enjoy their golden years from the safety of their homes.