According to the Pew Research Center, 27% of adults ages 60 and older live alone in the U.S. Many seniors prefer this scenario to a care facility, maintaining their independence as they age. While living alone can be advantageous, elders can also pose multiple safety risks to themselves. Whether the danger comes from falls, fire hazards, lack of supplies, lifestyle, or loneliness, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your elderly loved one living alone.
You may already help your senior family members with their household duties, or you may be noticing they are reaching the age that they will need some assistance to maintain independence in their own home. Either way, here are some simple tips to ensure the safety of your loved one.
Household hazards can lead to fires, falls, and lack of security. In your elderly family member’s home, check for tripping risks such as folded mats/rugs, boxes, wrinkled carpets, or strewn wires. Clear walkways of debris and tape rugs to floors. Fire hazards are also important dangers to watch for. Aprons and towels, or anything flammable around stoves is a common occurrence. Most house fires start from cooking equipment, so it is good to check small appliances and replace them when they become old. Flammable objects near heating supplies, and/or damaged equipment are risks. Test smoke alarms and make sure the batteries are replaced on a regular basis.
Outside the kitchen, tangled and frayed wires can cause fires, so it is smart to check behind TV stands and desks with computers. Replace candles with LED candles that mimic the flame without the danger of fire. In the bathroom, install grab bars, if necessary, and place rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping. Lastly, make sure your elderly loved one’s windows and doors are not broken, with the locks and window protection working properly. If they don’t already have one, it would be smart to install a security system also.
Backup supplies for events such as power outages, storms, and in our recent case, a pandemic are important to keep in stock. Just in case your elderly loved one is stuck inside their home until you are able to reach them, it is a good idea to have non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, blankets, candles, and bottled water on hand. Keep up to date on medication refills so they will not run out. Create a list of medications, allergies, or any other necessary information like doctors’ numbers. This could be valuable information in an emergency.
Seniors living alone are prone to loneliness. Weekly or daily visits are important. Conversation and any social interaction provide an upbeat spirit to a rather secluded time alone at home. Checking in each day also keeps your loved one safe by alerting you to any problems and providing you a chance to remind them to take any medications. Even if your family member doesn’t mind being home alone, it is still good to visit and socialize. In this pandemic, we have all become more familiar with ways to connect through video. You can teach your elderly loved one how to use this feature and check in with them as much as you can through your phone. Talk together about the dangers of phone scams and ways to prevent this terrible theft.
A Home Care Service is an organization that sends caregivers to your loved one’s home to assist them with the activities of daily living. They can provide the companionship to combat loneliness and assist with household duties to keep the home safe. A professional company with a trusted reputation, Griswold Home Care of Greater Orlando assists seniors with daily care needs such as hygiene, light housekeeping, and transportation. Griswold refers specially trained and experienced caregivers who treat your loved one with dignity and respect. Contact them to learn more today!
Infographic provided by TargetLeads, a Medicare lead mailing company