How Caregivers Can Improve Senior Safety

4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver

According to the Population Reference Bureau, the American population aged 65 years and older is expected to double up from 48 million in 2016 to nearly 98 million in 2060. As a majority of U.S. citizens grow old, their physical and mental capabilities continue to decline, endangering their safety and independence. Moreover, seniors are highly prone to falls, injuries, and other unpleasant occurrences such as crimes. How Caregivers Can Improve Senior Safety

Regardless of whether your senior lives with you or separately, it is crucial for you to create a safe environment for your aging relative in order to protect him/her from unforeseen events that can adversely affect his/her quality of life.

Here are six things you can do to create a safe living area for your senior, enabling him/her to live comfortably. How Caregivers Can Improve Senior Safety

1.  Make Your Home Senior-Friendly

Falls and slips are extremely common when seniors are moving around and/or exercising. Elders often experience dizziness and loss of balance owing to muscle weaknesses, medications, and aging, causing them to trip easily.

Check staircases for loose or uneven steps and insecure railings and tiles. Install secure hand railings and replace worn-out carpets that can cause your elder to slip and fall.

Make sure the commonly-used passages, walk-in closets, and other dark corners of your house are adequately lit. Consider installing motion-activated lights in areas such as the bathroom and the kitchen that may be frequently used at night. Keep exposed wires and cables out of the way by using cord covers and secure them safely behind the furniture.

Bathrooms and toilets can be extremely dangerous for seniors if adequate safety precautions aren’t taken. Install anti-scalding devices, shower seats, and grab bars that are effective in limiting accidents.

Organize your elder’s wardrobes and kitchen cabinets well by storing the everyday items on the lower shelves. This will limit the use of step-ladders or stools reducing the risk of a fall.

Develop an emergency kit that can be placed at your senior’s bedside to handle unforeseen events such as power outages, freezing weather and/or sudden health issues. Include a flashlight, a blanket, snacks, bottled water, a first-aid kit and emergency medications to enable you senior to handle such situations.

2.  Select an Eldercare Facility That Prioritizes Senior Safety

Depending on his/her preferences, budget, and requirements, your senior may choose a home care service, an independent living community, or an assisted living facility. When looking for an ideal senior care option for your aging family member, choose a facility that prioritizes the safety of its residents.

Ask yourself the following questions when touring the eldercare center.

  • Does the senior living near me have alert systems for those who are at a risk of falls?
  • Are smoke-detectors, sprinklers, and cameras installed at strategic locations?
  • Is the parking area of the facility well-lit?
  • Are background and reference checks done before hiring the staff?
  • What is the senior care facility’s fire evacuation plan?
  • What is the procedure for permitting visitors into the residents’ rooms?

Before selecting a senior care facility, it is also wise to check its proximity to a hospital, rehabilitation center, or a physiotherapy clinic.

3.  Ensure Outdoor Safety

Minimize the risk of outdoor injuries and falls by making the driveway, the lawn, the porch, and the garage senior-friendly.

Talk to your healthcare provider about conducting a periodic fall assessment that will help evaluate your senior’s likelihood of tripping. The Morse fall scale is one such method used by a majority of nurses and doctors to identify the patient-specific risk factors that may cause him/her to lose balance. The results are then used to minimize the risks of such accidents.

If your senior lives at home, keep the driveway, patio, and lawn free of clutter and debris. Regularly maintain the yard and get rid of fallen branches to prevent tripping hazards.

4.  Invest in Senior-Safety Devices

An increasing number of technology firms are competing to create the best safety and health devices in the field of senior care.

Wearable safety and fitness devices can help your elder monitor his/her daily activities, remind him/her of doctor appointments and medications, and send real-time alerts in an emergency situation. Devices such as GPS-enable soles, auto-fall detection systems, and wristband health monitors not only uphold your senior’s safety but also retain his/her independence.

Numerous safety devices come with alert buttons that can connect with household sensors, helping you track your senior when you are away. These gadgets are connected with wireless mobile devices and cloud-based data storage, making it easy to protect your senior from potential health and safety hazards.

Consider your safety requirements and choose a safety device that can help prevent accidents, enable you to manage an emergency situation, and keep your elder safe and sound.

5. Keep Adequate Stock of Medications

If your senior suffers from a chronic condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, running out of medication can prove to be disastrous.

Talk to your healthcare provider and maintain an adequate stock of the medications prescribed to avoid last-minute frantic trips to the pharmacy. Moreover, if your senior misplaces his or her medication dispenser, this approach will ensure that he/she doesn’t miss a dose.

6. Install a Smart Home Security System

Advancements in the smart home technology domain can help aging adults live independently without having to worry about their safety.

Smart devices such as alarms, smoke-detectors, leak-detectors, smart lighting, video intercoms, and IP cameras can secure your senior’s habitat, enabling him/her to live peacefully.

In recent times, several home improvement stores and service providers offer a complete home security system which includes installing a set of smart devices that work together using a common platform.

If your senior desires to age at home, talk to a smart-home-improvement expert who will focus on your specific security needs and install devices that are most relevant to you and your senior.

Conclusion: How Caregivers Can Improve Senior Safety

As a caregiver, the biggest contribution you can make to your senior’s life is to empower him/her to live with minimum assistance. Consider the above-mentioned points to help maintain the independence and security of your elderly loved one. How Caregivers Can Improve Senior Safety

Author Bio:  Evan Thompson, CEO and founder of Senior.One has a long standing interest in finding solutions for seniors. He helps connect senior citizens and their family members with elder care service providers and find the resources they need in one place. He offers information on nursing homes, hospice, financial planning, adult care, lifestyle and assisted living facilities in Albuquerque. He provides information on housing, medical professionals, financial planning services, and lifestyle options.

How Caregivers Can Improve Senior Safety

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about the author

Kimberly Johnson

As a co-owner of Senior.com, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well.  Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor.  Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, for 13 months before passing.  Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 102 year old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor.  She is happily married to her husband of 22 years and they have 3 children.

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