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Home Safety for the Elderly; a checklist

The benefit to an elderly person’s wellbeing of continuing to live in their own home cannot be overstated. That said, there are many safety considerations that need to be addressed in order to facilitate this without risking their health or safety. The presence of a live-in carer can mitigate many of these risks, because they are trained in home safety as well as personal care.

So, what are some of the considerations that relatives of elderly people need to take into account when it comes to safety at home?

Mobility

As people age, their mobility often becomes more restricted and adaptations to their living environment are required. An elderly person with mobility problems may require specialist equipment, such as:

  • Stair lift
  • Hand rails
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • "Reachers" – pincher-like devices to help people pick up objects
  • Toilet seat riser
  • Bath bench
  • Button loopers and zipper pulls, for dressing
  • Single-lever taps

Falls prevention

Falls are one of the biggest concerns when it comes to elderly people. It’s something we’ve developed our own prevention strategy for at The Good Care Group, but there are basic precautions that anyone can take to reduce the risk of falls at home:

  • Secure any loose or uneven carpets/rugs
  • Remove clutter and trip hazards from the home
  • Fit stairs with sturdy banisters with handrails on each side
  • Ensure shoes are well-fitting with a low heel
  • Clean up any floor spills immediately and never use floor wax
  • Consider purchasing a low bed and/or fitting bedrails
  • Ensure everyday items are within easy reach and are not stored in high cupboards
  • Remove wires and cables from any areas where they could pose a trip hazard

Fire safety

In the event of a fire, an elderly person unaccompanied by a live-in carer may struggle to exit the house promptly. Ensure the following are fitted as a minimum:

  • Working fire and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Fire extinguisher and blanket
  • Electric induction hob (not gas)
  • Panic alarm or other easy to use emergency response system that enables your relative to summon help

Visibility

Many elderly people struggle with their vision. For this reason, a well-planned home should include:

  • Large print instructions/warnings
  • Touch-tone telephones with large numbers
  • Plenty of good quality non-glare lighting
  • Plain carpets without busy, potentially confusing, patterns

Conclusion

Preparing the home of an elderly relative for improved safety can be difficult and require specialist knowledge. Live-in carers from The Good Care Group receive specialist training to equip them with this knowledge. They will conduct an assessment of your relative’s home and circumstances to determine what, if any changes, need to be put in place to keep your loved one safe, and there will be someone on hand 24/7 to monitor their safety and wellbeing.

Download our brochure to find out more about our award-winning live-in care services.