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AGING IN PLACE HOME SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR SENIORS

April 5, 2017
 
Whether recovering from an accident or illness, or facing a long term disease or disability; simple home modifications can make a home safe for people with vision, strength or mobility difficulties. The AARP offers a list of suggestions that make homes of seniors or disabled adults a safer place:
 

VISION

  • Install new lights (such as motion-sensor flood lights) or increase lighting on exterior pathways, porches and doorways

  • Increase lighting on all stairs, either by plugging night-lights into wall outlets or installing overhead fixtures or wall sconces

  • Install light switches that glow in the dark

  • In the kitchen, place lighting over the sink, stove and other work areas and be sure your stove's controls are easy for you to see

  • Keep a magnifying glass in the places you may need one (kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom) for reading small print
  • Place automatic, light-sensor night-lights in hallways and rooms
     
  • Add lighting to closets

  • Install a thermostat that’s easy to read

  • Use full-spectrum bulbs that simulate daylight

  • Use halogen bulbs to reduce glare

  • Open window shades, blinds and curtains for natural light during the day

 

STRENGTH AND BALANCE    

  • Replace round doorknobs with easier-to-use lever-style door handles

  • Place a chair or table near the entrance door for placing packages while you lock or unlock the door

  • Replace traditional toggle-style light switches with larger, easier-to-use rocker-style light switches

  • Repair or replace any hard-to-open windows 
 
MOBILITY
 
  • Place rolling casters on chairs 

 

  • Buy touch control lamps or "clapper" devices for lights and electronics

 

  • Install a walk-in or no-threshold shower 

 

  • Install or add a bath seat or bench  

 

  • Add a hand held shower-head 

 

  • Use a front-loading washer, and place the washer, dryer, shelves and work surfaces at reachable heights

 

  • Keep a cell phone on you or install a telephone in multiple rooms (including the bathroom) so you're never too far from being able to call for help
 
David Forman, President of Visiting Angels, a Home Care company that helps seniors and disabled adults live independently at home, suggest additional convenience and safety items.
 
 “When returning from a hospital or rehab facility, a nurse case manager is going to suggest necessary medical and safety devices,” says Forman.  “However, many accidents are preventable If some of these devices were already in place.  Similarly, when facing any illness or any type of recovery at home there’s enough stress without having to first begin thinking of long term safety.”  
 
Forman suggests contacting a local medical equipment company for a free assessment and for many of these needs; and checking carefully for safety hazards and considering the following preventative modifications, devices and convenience items before they’re completely necessary:
 
 
PREVENTATIVE 
 
Area rugs can cause trips and falls, and make using walkers and canes more dangerous, if they have any height to ends, consider removing or replacing with flat rugs
 
Electric chords, cables and charging devices also pose a tripping hazard; consider storing them on counters and tables
 
Install rails next to stairs indoors and outdoors
 
Install ramps for outdoor stairs as soon as mobility is impaired
 
Install grab bars next to toilets, showers and baths
 
Use non-skid mats in the bathroom next to sinks, infant of toilets and of course in the tub or shower
 
If you have more than a one-story home, consider preparing a first floor room for recovery or long term living 
 
Wear non-skid slippers at home, and sneakers or other rubber soled shoes
 
Buy a travel wheelchair or rolling type walker before it’s needed
 
HOME CARE 
 
Consider home care.  From a couple of hours a day for personal care or a few hours a week, to 24 hour live-in assistance; an experienced caregiver can help seniors and disabled adults remain safe and independent at home, preventing hospital visits and readmissions.  Visiting Angels provides assistance with personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders, errands, appointments and transportation, light housekeeping, respite and companionship.  Caregivers are experienced in alzheimer’s and dementia care, Parkinson’s, cancer care and other chronic illnesses.  Staff answers emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; and hourly and daily rates are affordable.  Call 329-9475 or visit visitingangels.com/sussexde
 

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