How to keep elderly people safe living at home


outdoor grab rail

Independence is everything, and for this reason most people will do anything that they can in order to make sure that their relatives are able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible when they age. With this being the case, if you are currently in a situation where you are beginning to have to make choices, the good news is that there are a few key areas of the home that you can make safer.

The stairs

This is important, as accidents can happen to people of any age on the stairs, but it is even more likely to happen to elderly people. It is vital that you ensure that there is a clear way up and down the stairs, and that nothing is left for them to slip on. For example, you may be in the habit of leaving your keys on the stairs, and this is something that you should try to avoid. If your relative struggles to get up and down the stairs, then a chairlift could be an option, and you need to make sure that they know exactly how to operate this safely.

Make the bathroom safer

Anywhere where there is water increases the chances of an accident thanks to slipping, and a bathroom is a key place where you need to be aware of this. To help address this issue, you should take a look around at where they may struggle. Installing handles near the bath and toilet is a good start, as it means that they would be able to stand up and sit down easier, without slipping. Also, the mats that you use in the bath and on the floor are important. Many mats will slip if you step on them, whereas special non-slip mats are much safer. You may wish to consider these as an investment. If there is a shower in the bathroom, then a bench could be useful, as this would mean that there is no need to stand up for any extended period of time.

Check out the lighting levels

A lot of homes are darker than they used to be, and this is largely thanks to the preference shift towards ambient lighting and energy-saving bulbs. Although this is great in the home, it can be tricky for an elderly person to cope with, as they may already be struggling with poor vision, without further removing any lighting from the home. It is a good idea to have a night light plugged in, so that any trips to the bathroom during the night will be illuminated. This helps to avoid the risk of falling or tripping on something that may block the path during the journey – which can be particularly dangerous at night, as it is likely that nobody would realise there was a problem until the morning.

Add an alert system

No matter how safe you try to make the home of an elderly person, there is always still a chance that something could happen that you hadn’t prepared for. With this being the case, it is great to have an alert system installed, where a button can be pressed to get straight through to carers if needed. This can either be in the form of a button on a table, or a cord worn around the neck – whichever is more suitable for the individual. With this kind of system, alongside the changes to the home as described above, it is much more likely that an elderly person will be able to stay living in their own home, in a safe and secure way.

Grab bars

Grab bars are handy all over the home. Most people think of grab rails in the bathroom around the bath or shower, but they can be placed pretty much anywhere.  A hand rail leading up the garden path is standard, but what is there is a gap from the top of to the front door.  We all struggle at times with keys and unlocling doors so it would be great to add a grab rail by the door.