Keeping Seniors Safe in their Own Home

April 13, 2013
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Old tools on a wooden table

This week’s blog post come to us from Ulli Robson over at her blog site, ‘Safe With Ulli.’

10 Tips for Helping Seniors Stay Safe in their own Home.

An increasing number of seniors are choosing to remain in their homes, rather than move to a nursing home.

Here are some tips to help you protect your elderly loved ones:

1. Bright Lighting

Falls are by far the leading cause for seniors’ injuries in Canada. Not only do they cause pain, they often cost seniors their independence and quality of life. Proper lighting in all rooms and hallways is one of the easiest steps in making the home safe. There should be a night light in the bathroom; a lamp near the bed; and light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.

2. Outdoors

Keeping the home safe for seniors includes the outside! Is there an outdoor light at the entrance? Do the front steps have a railing and provide good traction? The mail box should be within easy (i.e., safe) reach.

3. Bathroom

This may be a room in the house of a senior where most accidents happen. Bathing, showering, and exiting the tub or shower should be made safer by installing grab rails. Throw out any old bath mat prone to cause sliding out from underneath your parent’s feet and replace it with one that has a non-slip surface. You might want to consider a bath seat and hand-held showerhead. Bathroom door locks should have an emergency release.

4. Multiple Telephones

Having telephones in enough areas of the home so that reaching one in time does not require rushing will reduce the chance of a fall. A list of emergency numbers should be placed next to every phone for easy reference.

5. Fire Safety

Please make sure that there is a working smoke detector on every floor of the home. These should be tested twice a year, when clocks are turned forward in spring and back in the fall. Don’t let the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide, strike your loved one’s home; install a CO detector as an early warning. How about a fire extinguisher, in good operating order, in the kitchen, mounted on the wall away from the stove? These measures can be true lifesavers!

6. Medication Safety

Is your elderly parent on a prescribed medication to be taken daily at a specific time? Perhaps you would like to receive event-notification on your smart phone if the medicine cabinet was not opened at the specified time. All you need is a sensor on that cabinet combined with simple home automation technology; these are now available through most security companies. Sensors on cupboards and the refrigerator can help prevent skipped meals, with triggered reminders if the doors remain closed for a long period of time.

7. Nighttime Wandering

The tragic accident recently in Calgary, where an elderly woman died after being found outside, made me think of this blog’s topic because this lady’s death was so preventable. Here is the link to the sad notice: Calgary Herald  Seniors who are suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other chronic mental illness should have door alarms installed on all exterior doors. These sensors can alert you and/or other caregivers and the monitoring station if someone leaves the house at an unusual hour of the night, helping to prevent nighttime wandering.

8. Scams

While technology and gadgets are making life easier for the elderly these days, they are also proving to be a serious problem for our senior population, their families and caregivers. How? Scams! Cyber-criminals are using the Internet to rob our seniors of their valuables, their dignity and even their life savings. Make sure to read the recent article written by Les Godberg, published by Examiner.com, and then teach your senior parents how not to fall victim to scams.

9. Home Monitoring

Even though your senior is independent and will want to stay in his/her home for as long as possible, arranging home monitoring with a medical alert system will allow you to keep an eye on your elderly loved one. It won’t prevent the onset of poor health, but the system will get help when poor health arrives.

10. Remote Access

Let’s put a more positive spin on the life of your senior parents. They are retired, active and look very much forward to escaping our cold climate for a few months of golfing down South. Having a security system with remote access will allow them to control their home from anywhere they have Internet. Adjusting the temperature, turning lights on or off, even viewing cameras right from the palm of their hand to check in on their property while away, are all part of new technologies that allow seniors to feel safe and stay in their own homes longer.

If you don’t have a security system, if your existing system is not monitored or if you are not happy with your current security provider, call me for a free no-obligation consultation. You will be glad you did!

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, 780-288-2986

www.SafewithUlli.com

If you’re in the Greater Edmonton area and are looking for a contractor for you renovation project, visit our website at www.nordalta.com/contact.php to find information on how to contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you about what we can do to get the ball rolling on your next home or office project. You can also leave comments with us at info@nordalta.com.

Michael Breault is a project coordinator for Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Michael and Nord Atla Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaConstruction, on twitter at www.twitter.com/Nordalta, and on LinkedIn.

Robert Breault is the president and owner of Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at www.nordalta.com. You can also find Robert and Nord Alta Construction on facebook at www.facebook.com/NordAltaContruction and on LinkedIn.