Ann and Bob love their life of independence. At 85 and 86, respectively, they would like to remain in their home for as long as possible. Lately, Ann has been feeling vulnerable. She heard that seniors have an increased risk of being the target of a crime. She wakes every night to sounds in the house fearing a break in. Ever since Bob tripped on the stairs he hasn’t been able to move about as quickly and he wonders if he can keep Ann safe at home, let alone when they go shopping or in the case of an emergency.
Falls are the leading cause of death and injuries for people 65 and older, so they are smart to keep senior safety on their minds. Ann and Bob would benefit from implementing a few home safety features to prevent falls and the risk of accidents at home.
Accidents like falls at home can be caused by health or environmental factors. Addressing health issues with regular checkups by your health professional, vision and hearing screenings, and medication monitoring is a first line of defense against unintended physical mishaps. Preparing your home to assist you as your physical abilities change is another important component of keeping seniors safe at home.
- Eliminate tripping hazards in your home like area rugs, waxed floors, extension cords and discarded items left on the floor.
- Ensure that all stairs are carpeted or have stair treads or slip guards on them.
- Install handrails on both side of the stairs.
- In the bathroom make sure there is a walk-in shower with grab bars on the wall.
- A comfort height commode with grab bars beside it is also helpful.
- Ensure your home has nightlights or motion lights in all rooms that you use at night especially the bathroom.
- Have at least 60 watt bulbs in your lamps to provide adequate lighting.
- Refrain from using a step stool in the kitchen. Opt instead for keeping your most used items down below or within arms-reach.
- Keep your mobile phone handy and have 911 on speed dial or where a medi-alert call button.
- Replace old appliances with those with automatic turn off safety features.
- Store a fire extinguisher within reach.
- Install smoke detectors in every room and get assistance to change the batteries every six months.
- Plan your fire escape route and practice exiting your home in a timely manner.
- Ensure that the exterior of your home is free from leaves, snow and ice for ease of movement.
Property crime is 65% of the crimes against seniors. Crime is most often the result of opportunity. It is important to mitigate opportunity by enacting a few simple senior safety tips to keep your home safe.
- Install exterior sensor lights to illuminate your surroundings.
- Remove or reduce hedges that block your windows and doors from view.
- Install a home security system with a sign advertising the system placed in view of the street.
- Keep indoor lighting on timers when you are away and have a neighbor collect you mail and/or newspapers.
- Secure your vehicle. Enter and exit your vehicle quickly and lock all doors. Never leave your car running and unattended.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Park in a garage when possible.
- Do your shopping during daylight hours.
- Use the buddy system. There is safety in numbers and it’s fun to have company.
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket and/or your purse securely across your shoulders.
- Limit purchases to what you can comfortably carry or use a shopping cart.
- Keep the cash or credit card you are using easily accessible and refrain from searching in your purse or letting others see your belongings. Limit the amount of cash you carry.
- Transfer your purchases to and from your car swiftly while you stay aware of your surroundings.
In case of an emergency when home or in your car keep a supply of water and food, nutrition bar or drinks and medication on hand in case you need to shelter in place.
Fraud and scams are on the rise against seniors. To learn more about this safety subject read our post on avoiding senior scams.