10 Essential Home Safety Tips for Senior Citizens
Do you have an elderly parent or loved one who still lives in their own home? Perhaps you’re an older adult who wants to take steps to reduce the hazards around the house?
Nothing compares to the familiarity and comfort of your own house, especially if you’re one of the half a million Canadians living with dementia today. Owing to those numbers, one in five Canadians now have experience caring for someone living with dementia. Maintaining independence in a domestic environment requires knowing some home safety tips that will reduce the risks of danger.
If you want to keep an elderly friend or relative in the place they love, you need to read our guide on home safety for senior citizens.
We’re going to cover everything, including what to add, what to remove, what to check, and what to buy. Keep reading!
1. Fall Hazards
Over half of all injury-related hospitalizations in Canada were for seniors. Of these, the leading cause was falling, accounting for almost one in ten hospitalizations.
Senior citizen home safety starts with removing all trip and fall hazards, especially loose area rugs. Don’t run any extension cables across walkways and eliminate any unnecessary objects that could be stumbled over.
The more open the environment the better, so an elderly person can easily navigate around.
2. Stability Aids
Preventing trips and falls is much easier when you make full use of home safety equipment. In particular, grab-bars in the bathroom help avoid some of the most common scenarios where accidents take place.
Handrails in hallways and anywhere where there are steps will ensure a senior can move around with confidence. Regularly check railings are sturdy and tighten them if they wobble even slightly. If tightening does not make them rock-solid, have them replaced by a competent installation service.
Test that all stability aids (including walkers) can carry an appropriate weight load safely without behaving unexpectedly.
3. Accessibility Seating
It’s common for a senior to lose lower body strength, making them even more of a fall risk over time. Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass, and it’s part of getting older. Strength training exercises are very beneficial to elderly persons who are at risk of falls.
Try and install seating anywhere where their lower body strength might be challenged. A shower chair is a common addition that can boost safety. A seat near the front door (as long as it is not a trip hazard) can aid a senior as they put on or remove footwear.
4. Flatten Thresholds
Another of our home safety tips is to walk through the property and check each doorway is wide enough for easy access, especially if the senior uses a walker.
If there is a raised threshold or step, consider having it lowered or replaced with a ramp. One small bump is enough to cause an unstable footing. Install a chairlift or at least mark any steps with hazard tape to ensure clear visibility.
5. Telehealth Visits
Many health providers and primary care physicians now include telehealth services, so make use of them and sign up where available. Saving a difficult trip to a health center might be beneficial to both a senior and their caregiver.
If a senior might otherwise be missing appointments, telehealth services are ideal and they can reduce unnecessary hospital visits too.
6. Add Technology
Anywhere you can add smart technology that will make life safer and easier, do it. Lights and lamps that sense movement and turn on will make hallways safe for seniors that make frequent bathroom visits at night.
Those who require memory care services will benefit from automatic reminder systems that can prompt medications and other vital information.
7. Senior Phone
Most seniors want to keep in close contact with family members and visa versa, but it’s not always easy. Cell phones and even landlines can become confusing, especially the technology-loaded latest models.
Choose simpler models where possible and look for handsets with large numbering systems, especially those designed for seniors. Have emergency numbers written nearby and set up speed-dial numbers that are labelled clearly for quick use.
8. Check outside
One of our last home safety tips is to consider the garden and driveway. Cracks in walkways or loose stones and other items might pose a danger to a senior checking their mail.
During winter storms, make sure there’s a system in place to have snow and ice safely cleared from the driveway and walkways.
9. GPS Tracker
Even when you make sure the exterior of the property is free from hazards, elderly seniors that suffer from dementia are prone to wandering. They can easily get lost, even in once-familiar surroundings, so locating them might be challenging.
Thankfully, an on-the-go alert service with built-in cellular GPS can keep them independent, mobile, and safe. A discreet wearable bracelet or pendant provides 2-way voice communication. A trained operator can see your exact location and send help should an emergency arise.
Whether a personal contact or emergency assistance is summoned, a GPS tracker offers reassurance when you need it.
10. Medical Alert
A personal at-home alert system might be the best action you can take to safeguard your loved one’s health. That’s because even if you follow all our other tips, there is always the potential for an unforeseen hazard to arise.
Medical alert devices prevent accidents and emergencies from escalating by summoning help immediately, at the press of a button. You get 24-hr protection anywhere there’s a landline or internet connection. You can even opt for built-in fall detection, so a trained, bilingual Canadian operator will be alerted.
Even if you can’t get to the phone, a wearable bracelet or pendant keeps you connected and safe, with a range up to 400-metres.
Home Safety Tips
Now you’ve read our home safety tips for senior citizens, we hope you can help an elderly parent or friend remain independent. Don’t let it take a fall to motivate you to make changes to support your loved one’s lifestyle.
If you know someone who needs to stay safe in their home, we can help. We provide personal medical alert systems for seniors with years of experience in the care sector. Our service provides discreet wearable solutions for the home or anywhere there is cellular service in Canada.
View options and order online.