Creating A Safe Environment
As we get older, we can experience a decline in some of our human attributes such as our sight, hearing, balance, mobility or even our cognitive ability such as becoming more forgetful. This is a normal part of ageing, but it can mean older people are at higher risk of experiencing accidents within the home such as trips and falls.
By creating a safe environment, you can ensure that the risk of these accidents occurring is lessened and your home is a safer and more accessible environment. Here are some of our top tips for creating a safe home.
How To Aid Mobility
There are many small and easy changes you can make to help aid mobility around the home, such as installing handrails in the bathroom and other touch points, handrails on both sides of the stairs, toilet seat risers and rearranging furniture so there are clear walkways.
You can also make changes such as installing wheelchair ramps or ramps in place of a steep step to a door. It might also be worth investing in a stair lift if climbing stairs is becoming difficult or dangerous.
Mobility aids such as ‘reachers’ can help to reach for items that either fall to the floor or are far away, usually available with an extendable pole and grabber mechanism. You might also find it useful to invest in a walking stick or Zimmer frame to provide that added security and support as you move about your home.
How To Prevent Falls
As we get older, falls can become more dangerous and it can be difficult to get back up, which can lead to broken bones or extensive bruising. There are some steps you can take to make your home safer and help reduce the risk of falls.
For example, it is worth having well-fitting non-slip slippers or house shoes and securing any loose or uneven carpets or rugs. It is usually advisable not to have throw-rugs as these are often a cause of trips and falls, but you can invest in non-slip attachments for them.
Keep things within easy reach and do not put things you will need high up, if you do need something from high up, it might be worth waiting for a visitor to help with this.
Use handrails to get in and out of the bath or shower and invest in a non-slip bath mat or stickers to prevent you falling as you get in and out when the bath is wet and slippery.
Invest in a lower profile bed to make it easier to get in and out of or invest in bedrails to assist you. Ensure there is a phone by your bed should you need to call for help. Cordless phones throughout the house can be beneficial should you ever need to summon help quickly.
It might also be worth thinking about investing in a panic alarm to wear, so you can alert someone if you fall or injure yourself or need help.
Preparing For Emergencies
As we get older, we can sometimes become more forgetful or absent-minded, which means sometimes accidents can happen.
You can ensure the fire safety of your home by ensuring you have a fire and carbon monoxide alarm on each floor, your local fire service can usually help with installing and checking these. It is also worth having a fire extinguisher and blanket to hand should a fire break out.
Invest in electric hobs rather than gas hobs to help reduce the risk of fire or gas leaks and look into appliances with an auto-shut off function so if you do forget to turn something off, the risk of an accident is reduced.
Always ensure that appliances are far from the edge of the worktop and be sure to clean up any spills as soon as possible to prevent falls. Avoid using chip-pans or deep fat fryers, and consider options such as ready meals, pre-prepared meals or meals on wheels if you are finding mobility difficult or are becoming forgetful. If you have a carer, they can also help with preparing your favourite meals.
To ensure you can contact someone in the event of an emergency, invest in cordless phones throughout the home that are within easy reach or carry a mobile with you. Alternatively, look into investing in a personal alarm so you can reach someone for help if you fall or an emergency occurs such as a fire.
Be Smart, Be Safe
Unfortunately, many people will try to take advantage of older people as they can be more vulnerable or trusting. Install a chain lock on your door and ask for identification from anyone who wants to enter your home who you do not know and are not expecting. You can invest in stickers for your door that say ‘No cold callers’ and ‘No Junk Mail’ if you would like to try and prevent these occurring.
Think carefully about any visits, post or emails you get and if an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is. It is worth consulting another member of your family before you agree to anything or give over any personal information.
If you are concerned about someone, call a friend or family member or if you feel unsafe, call your local police station on 101.