The New Year is upon us and while many people are focusing on resolutions that have to do with losing weight and breaking bad habits—there is one resolution that all seniors need to be making: to be safer in the new year. Over a quarter of senior Americans are currently living alone which is why elderly safety is so important. Falls and accidents are most likely to happen right in the home and if your senior loved one is living by themselves, it may mean that help is far away.
With this in mind, here are a few practical, but helpful safety tips that can completely change the lives of your senior loved one for the better.
1. Go through the home and start decluttering. There should be a clear path, wide enough for two people to walk through the house. Cords should be secured on the wall or behind furniture and small items like ottomans and step stools should be out of the way.
2. In homes that have water boilers, change the thermostat settings from “hot” to “medium” to help avoid scalding and burns.
3. Go through all of the rugs in the home. Rubber mats should be in place in the shower. Non-slip mats should be in the bathrooms and all throw rugs in the home should have a secure backing behind them to ensure they don’t move.
4. Check the appliances. Refrigerators should be serviced every 3-6 months to make sure they work and dryer vents should be professionally cleaned twice per year to prevent fires.
5. Make sure all of the stairs in the home have handrails and that these handrails are completely secured to the wall. They shouldn’t move, even if they are pulled on with all of your strength.
6. Hire someone to frequently sand or salt all walkways and driveways in the winter. Even when you can’t see ice, if it is cold out, there is a potential for ice forming.
7. Remove any keys that may be hidden under the doormat or in other obvious areas outside the home—it is a safety issue waiting to happen, especially if people know an elderly person lives there alone.
8. Check all of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home and make sure there is a working fire extinguisher in place as well.
9. If your senior loved one smokes inside the home, 2018 is the year to stop this habit.
10. Encourage senior women who carry purses to change to fanny packs or bags that stay on their body at all times.
11. Change all of the passwords for your loved one’s financial records at the beginning of the year and put it on your calendar to do the same six months from now, so their information stays protected.
This year, make a resolution to help your senior loved one change their lives for the better and to revamp their home and their habits to be safer than ever in 2018. It may just save their life and prevent an avoidable accident from taking place.
With thanks to my guest contributor Lori Thomas. Lori is with SeniorAdvice.com.
Disclaimer: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, consulting with a physician, lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other qualified professional.