How to Keep The Elderly Safe at Home

Many older adults prefer to live independently in their own homes, but this often leaves them at an increased risk of dangerous falls and accidents. Slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injury for elderly people. In the UK, 1 out of 3 adults over 65 will have at least one fall a year.

Although most falls do not lead to serious injury, it is possible. Due to health concerns that are common with ageing, such as lower bone density and decreased flexibility, falls can have devastating consequences for elderly people, making it difficult for them to recover physically and emotionally from an accident.

But there are other safety considerations to consider if you want to keep your elderly loved ones safe and comfortable at home. Scammers pose a significant risk to older people and as do certain areas of the home like bathrooms and stairways.

Here you’ll find tips and guidance on how you can keep your elderly loved ones safe at home:

Kitchen Safety

The kitchen is a bustling hub of activity, but it can also be one of the most dangerous areas of the home if you do not take the proper safety precautions. Here are essential tips to ensure your loved ones stay safe in the kitchen:

  • Stove Safety: Opt for a stove with front controls to prevent reaching over burners. Try to keep pot handles turned inward to prevent accidental spills.
  • Fire Prevention: Install a fire extinguisher and regularly check smoke detectors.
  • Non-Slip Surfaces: Place non-slip mats near sinks and stoves to prevent slips on water or spills.
  • Clear Workspaces: Keep countertops clutter-free to provide ample space for meal preparation and reduce accidents.
  • Proper Lighting: Ensure that the lighting is sufficient and well-distributed to clearly see while cooking.
  • Accessible Utensils: Store commonly used utensils, pots, and pans within easy reach to prevent straining or using unstable step stools.
  • Chair Safety: If there’s seating, ensure the chairs are sturdy and easy to get in and out of.
  • Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation to prevent dangerous cooking fumes from accumulating.

Bedroom Safety

Although the bedroom is a haven for many people, they also tend to accumulate clutter and furniture which can be dangerous for anyone trying to move around, especially at night. Help your loved one turn their bedroom into a safe and comfortable environment with these tips:

  • Bed Height: Choose a bed with an appropriate height to make getting in and out easier. Too high or too low of a bed can easily lead to falls.
  • Lighting: Make sure there’s enough lighting near the bed. Assess the room and look for any areas that are particularly dark. Nightlights are useful for those who need to move around during the night.
  • Clear Pathways: Keep pathways around the bed clear of clutter to prevent tripping, especially during nighttime visits to the bathroom.
  • Accessible Items: Place frequently used items within easy reach, avoiding the need to overreach or strain.

Bathroom Safety

The bathroom is one of the most dangerous areas of the home so you should pay particular attention to the safety risks in this area. Most of the potential hazards come from the risks of slips and falls due to all the wet surfaces in the bathroom.

Take the following precautions to ensure bathroom safety for your loved ones:

  • Thermostat Temperature: Make sure the thermostat on the water heater is set to no higher than 49°C to prevent scalding.
  • Grab Bars and Handles: Have grab bars and handles installed in the shower and near the toilet to make getting around easier.
  • Rubber Mats: Rubber Mats or stick-ons can prevent dangerous slips in the shower or bathtub.
  • Safety Aids: Consider raised toilet seats or shower chairs if your loved one has trouble getting in and out of the bath or using the toilet due to the low height.

Flooring and Stairway Safety

Stairs and flooring can be dangerous for anyone, so taking steps to reduce risks is essential:

  • Stair Railings: Install sturdy handrails on both sides of staircases for support while ascending or descending. Test the handrails to ensure they can support the full weight of an adult.
  • Non-Slip Flooring: If falls are a concern, consider carpeted stairs or add non-slip rugs to reduce the risk of falls, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Clear Clutter: Keep pathways clear of any clutter or obstacles. Ensure that loose cords and objects are properly secured.

Crime Prevention

Looking after the safety and security of elderly people goes beyond physical well-being; it also involves protecting them from potential criminal threats. People living on their own or with dementia are particularly vulnerable.

Here are some tips for keeping your loved ones safe:

  • Home Security: Install robust locks on doors and windows, and consider a security system with alarms and cameras for added protection. Adequate lighting around the property can help deter criminals.
  • Scam Awareness: Educate your loved ones about common scams that target the elderly, such as fraudulent calls, emails, and door-to-door schemes. Encourage them to avoid sharing personal information and contact family or friends if they need help verifying someone’s identity.
  • Online Safety: If your loved one is new to online technologies, explain to them the potential danger, including that people may not always be who they claim to be. Help them secure passwords, delete scam emails and install anti-virus software.
  • Financial Safety: Help them manage their finances securely by setting up direct deposits, monitoring bank statements, and limiting sharing of financial information. Just be absolutely sure to have their consent or the appropriate legal authority before you undertake any financial decision on their behalf, including looking at their private banking information.

Fire Safety

An elderly person may not be able to react as quickly or move as swiftly during an emergency, especially if they are living with dementia or mobility issues. These fire safety tips can help keep your loved ones safe, even if they live alone:

  • Clear Exits: Ensure that exits are clear of clutter, adequately lit and easily accessible.
  • Smoke Alarms: Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including bedrooms. Regularly test alarms and change batteries as needed.
  • Cooking Caution: Gently advise your loved one on how to cook with fire safety in mind. This includes keeping flammable items away from the stove, turning pan handles towards the back of the stove and avoiding long sleeves while cooking.
  • Heating Safety: Maintain a safe distance between heaters and any flammable object in the home. Make sure space heaters and candles are turned off when unattended or before going to bed, as they can be a major fire hazard.
  • Electrical Checks: Regularly inspect cords, plugs, and outlets for signs of wear. Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many devices.

Other Safety Considerations

Emergency phone numbers

During an emergency, it can be difficult to think clearly. You do not want your elderly loved one to have to frantically search for an address book or telephone number in an emergency situation.

Create a list of important emergency phone numbers and keep it by the phone. Make sure the list is visible and secured in a way that it cannot be lost, damaged or misplaced. It can be harder to read or understand information when we are worried or distressed, so use print that is clear and easy to understand.

Make sure the list is only visible within the home and not from any windows – criminals can use the numbers of family and friends to perpetuate scams.

You may want to include numbers for:

  • Emergency services
  • Family members or friends
  • Healthcare providers

Fall monitors

A fall monitor provides peace of mind for families with elderly loved ones at an increased risk of falls due to mobility issues or issues like wandering. A fall monitor is a small, portable device that is attached to a 24/7 monitoring service. In case of a fall, the user can simply press a button on the device to speak to an emergency helpline and ask for help. Some monitors even come with GPS tracking, which can be especially helpful for families worried about their loved ones getting lost or wandering.

Medication management

Properly managing medications is essential to ensuring health and overall well-being. Effective medication management reduces the risk of medication-related complications and ensures that your loved one enjoys all the intended health benefits from their medications.

Follow these steps to establish a safe and organised medication routine:

  • Medication List: Maintain an updated list of all medications, including names, dosages, and schedules. Share this information with healthcare providers.
  • Pill Organisers: Try pill organisers with compartments for each day of the week. This helps prevent missed doses and confusion.
  • Timely Reminders: Set up reminders for using alarms, timers, or smartphone apps to ensure medications are taken at the prescribed times.
  • Clear Labels: Clearly label all medication containers with the name, dosage, and instructions. Remove expired or unused medications.
  • Easy Access: Organise medications in a way that’s easy to access. Keep the medication in an easy to remember place, such as the bedside table or next to where they sit during the day.
  • Dispose of Safely: Dispose of expired or unused medications following recommended guidelines to prevent accidental ingestion.

Support for the Elderly in Their Own Homes

For over 75 years, Prestige Nursing & Care has helped families up and down the country to find a comfortable and safe care solution that keeps their parents living independently in their own homes.

Prestige Nursing & Care is not an agency. Unlike a home care agency, we are a fully managed and regulated care provider. This means we look after all aspects of hiring, training and managing your carer and care package, so that your family can focus on what matters most.

Find out why our clients choose Prestige Nursing & Care for a high-quality and responsive home care service.

We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your care needs.

0808 239 1525


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