A lot of time is spent in the home, so ensuring a home’s safety for a loved one should be a top priority. There are many everyday areas within a home that host some concern that healthy adults may take for granted. What may not be an obstacle to you, may be to your elderly loved one. Many areas of the home should be addressed to better suit the mobility and agility limitations we experience as we age.
Here is a safety preparedness checklist that can really make a significant difference:
- Keep all areas of the home, including hallways and stairs, well lighted, but free from glare.
- Remove throw rugs or attach a non-skid backing to them.
- Reduce the risk of falling on flooring by ensuring it is not slippery. Do not use any gloss polish.
- Use night lights in the bedroom, hallways, kitchen and bathrooms.
- Keep the stove area in the kitchen free of towels, paper towels, napkins, curtains and other things that might catch fire.
- Remove all newspapers and magazines from the kitchen counter areas.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and teach everyone of age how to use it.
- Inspect electrical cords for fraying or cracking; be sure they are placed away from walking paths but not under carpet or furniture, where they could present a fire hazard.
- Set the hot water temperature at 115 degrees or below on the water heater.
- Use slip-resistant decals or non-skid mats in the tub or shower.
- Install grab bars in the bathtub and by the toilet; be sure the screws go directly into the wall studs, so they stay securely in place.
- Check to be sure that extension cords are not overloaded and are clear of walkways.
- Install smoke detectors on every floor of the home and test them monthly.
- Dispose out-of-date medications and those which are no longer being used.
- Place a telephone in the bedroom. Post emergency numbers by all telephones.
- Keep space heaters away from flammable materials and be sure the room is well ventilated.
- A three-pronged plug should be used in a three-hole outlet, or an adapter should be used.
- Always turn off heating pads before an older person goes to sleep.
The Department of Justice has published regulations created to enforce standards for new construction, alterations, program accessibility and barrier removal. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Standards for Accessible Design can aid you in the updating your loved one’s home to make it safe and more accessible should there be a disability that needs to be accommodated. Download the PDF at ada.gov.
Have a Plan
Have an emergency exit plan and an alternative plan in case of fire. If the older person has a disability, call the local fire department and have them give you some stickers for the windows. You may want to review some of these issues with your loved one and call any relevant agencies/institutions that can assist you in making your loved one’s home safer and happier. FBN
By Jordan Fox
Visiting Angels of Flagstaff is the leader in Dementia and Alzheimer’s specialized care. Serving Flagstaff, Williams, Winslow, Payson and Show Low. For more information regarding home care and living assistance services visiting our website visitingangels.com/flagstaff.
You can also contact the director of the Flagstaff Office, Jordan Fox, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 928-220-4100. The office is located at 718 N. Humphreys St. Ste 201, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.