One of the services we provide as Aging Life Care Managers is a Safety Assessment of a senior’s home. I’ve figured out that one of the barriers to family members asking for a Home Safety Assessment is that they are not sure when it is needed for their loved one. Below is a short checklist to monitor over time. If and when you notice some changes in these areas, it may be time to do a full evaluation in efforts to keep your loved one safe.
- Rugs, Rugs, Rugs! The very first thing most people in the world of Aging Care notice is how a senior is walking and if there are trip hazards around the home. Even if someone usually has no issues with walking, a rug can trip them up as their reflexes and ability to pick their feet up diminishes, making rugs a dangerous item of house décor.
- Old Food! Check your loved one’s refrigerator often. If you begin to notice more left over containers and food not being thrown away, chances is your senior could be snacking on old food a little too long. Our senses change as we age and so does our memory. These changes increase the risk of seniors eating spoiled or rotten food, which could of course make them sick.
- Lights! Make sure to visit your loved one’s home at different times of the day. As we age, our vision often declines. The amount of lighting someone used for the past 10 years may become too little as their eyes deteriorate. This causes concern for falls among other possible hazards.
- Handles! Are there hand rails on the steps into and out of the home? Is it still easy for the senior to stand up and sit down to use the toilet? How are they getting into the shower? As we age, our balance can get a little wobbly and we may lose strength. Having the appropriate assistive grab bars and railings are keys to staying safe.
So next time you visit your aging loved one, take mental notes of these items. If you notice any small concerns then it may be time for a full safety assessment to ensure your loved one stays safe and independent for as long as possible. There are many ways to mitigate safety issues within someone’s home and Aging Life Care Managers can help you understand the best options for your loved one.