How to improve elderly safety at home

Written By: Dale Orlando

Our last blog had some great tips for helping your parents or elderly loved ones make a wise decision if they elect to move into a retirement residence. Today, though, we’ll explore how to help older people safely stay in their own homes.

It’s difficult when you realize it’s you turn to take care of the people who once took care of you. Just as your parents “baby-proofed” their homes to keep you safe, their homes may to need to be “senior-proofed” to keep them safe.

In our personal injury practice in Toronto, we see a lot of needless injuries that occur in the home.

Unitypoint.org offers 10 key steps that should be taken:

  1. Keep the stairs safe: sturdy railings, well lit, manageable.
  2. Remove loose rugs and clutter from around the home.
  3. Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  4. Remove cords to prevent tripping.
  5. Be sure emergency phone numbers are easily accessible beside each and every telephone.
  6. Turn their water heater down so they can’t scald themselves.
  7. Make sure they have a flashlight, lamp and phone beside their beds.
  8. Install grab bars by the toilet and shower; safety-proof the bathroom.
  9. Make sure the house is brightly and easily lit (consider remotes or other lighting devices).
  10. Invest in a medical alert system; it’s critical to have after a slip or fall.

In case of an emergency, make sure they know the escape route. Also, have a fire extinguisher on each floor. Make sure any mats in bathroom areas are non-skid and think about covering sharp corners around the house with rubber.

If your loved one does not want or need to invest in a medical alert system, consider formalizing a buddy system wherein neighbours are checking in regularly.  Slips and falls do happen, we all know that, and we’ll take a closer look at that in the next blog post.

Dale Orlando

Dale Orlando

Principal Partner

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