6 Ways to Make Your Home Safer for the Elderly

Time catches up to all of us, and seemingly in the blink of an eye, some of our loved ones might have entered the threshold of their “golden years.” Ripe old age is something to be celebrated; your elderly loved ones have likely lived long, full, and happy lives. But once they hit 60, being sharp, safe, and in good health becomes a little harder for them. Little by little, their mobility decreases; their immune systems weaken; and they become more susceptible to injury and illness, even in circumstances that are safe for the young and able-bodied.

Thus, if you’re welcoming elderly loved ones into your home, you should ensure that the environment is safe, easily navigable, and responsive to their needs. Here are 6 points of action to help you prepare your home accordingly.    

  1. Make sure they are around people who can address any emergencies. First, think about the people in the household who will watch over any elderly visitors. If the elderly family member is generally in frail health, or if their old age is compounded by a chronic illness, then the members of your household should be prepared to help them through a medical emergency. We suggest brushing up on your first aid knowledge by attending a first aid training course in Melbourne. Being able to intervene with first aid will be of key importance, especially if your elderly loved ones are not in the company of round-the-clock caregivers.

  2. Modify your home with additional implements for safety. Your elderly guests may suffer from poor vision or mobility, and even a small slip on the floor could prove dangerous for them. To counter the risk of incidents like slippage, outfit your home with implements to boost safety. Some examples are grab bars on the walls, raised toilet seats, and non-slip bath mats. Also make sure that they won’t be exposed to any protruding sharp edges or corners; cover any desks, shelves, or chairs that pose this risk.     

  3. Improve the lighting and ventilation systems in your home. Old age also compromises eyesight, resilience to changes in temperature, and immunity to airborne bacteria. And so it follows: light, temperature, and sufficient airflow are important factors in keeping your home safe for the elderly. You will probably want to do things such as install powerful, efficient light bulbs to improve visibility; make repairs to your air conditioning systems; and clean up the ventilation pipes inside of your home.

  4. Be conscientious about checking for safety hazards. In case an electrical fire, flood, or other emergency situation unravels in your house, it will be most difficult for the elderly occupants to move toward safety. This should be enough motivation to check if all safety mechanisms in the house, such as sprinklers and fire alarms, are in working order. In addition, you will want to make sure the fire exits in each room are clear and free of obstacles.
  5. Keep your home clean and free from clutter. The simplest and most practical thing you can do for your elderly loved ones is to keep the surroundings neat. Clear your rooms of dust and dirt magnets like old rugs, magazines, and toys. Remind the younger members of the household to shelve and replace items that are not in use, so that less clutter is left out in the open. In this sense, you are making the environment more pleasant, orderly, and easily familiar to elderly guests.

  6. Teach your elderly loved ones new ways of keeping in touch with you. You can also opt to incorporate technology in household routines with your elderly guests. If they do not already know how, you can teach them to use apps like Skype and FaceTime to video-call you when you are not around. If you are very worried about leaving them alone for longer periods of time, you can also install a device like a motion-activated security camera in their room. Just be sure to let them know and to secure their consent.

Ultimately, living with an elderly loved one boils down to two things: being sensitive about how life has changed for them, and helping them stay safe, in keen health, and in good humour all the same.