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How to make a house safer for the elderly.
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Making your house safe, especially for your
elders, should be a very high priority on your list of things to do.
There are obvious and then the subtle dangers of any house setting
that should be addressed out of concern for your elders' safety.
With the above in mind, here are just a few
things that you should consider doing:
An elderly individual should at least have a telephone and lamp
nightstand in easy reach in the event of a need to use
either one; the phone should have big, easy-to-read dial numbers
with a speed dial feature of all emergency numbers (police,
fire, poison control, family physician, etc.); the lamp should
easily be able to be turned on, either by the turning of a knob,
the touch of a remote control, or a single clap of the hands.
Lamp products like The Clapper are great products for this
purpose. You may also want to consider purchasing a
portable device that your elderly loved one can have, which they
can use with the push of a button on the device to send for help
in the event of an emergency; a product like this is the
Lifeline Medical Alert system. If you or others live with
an elderly loved one, you may find it convenient to install an
house intercom system in the house, with each room bearing an
intercom so that the elderly one can stay in almost constant
communication without the hassle of having to always walk around
to talk in person; a plug-in intercom may, in fact, be installed
right next to the elderly person's bedside.
There are many steps you can take to prevent your elder from
burning themselves. Help prevent an accidental burn by buying a stove
controls on the very front as opposed to being on the top or
very end/back of the stove. Doing so will eliminate the
need to reach for the controls over hot burners or heated pots
and pans. Seek businesses that sell a line of
elder-considerate appliances, etc.
organization. Try to keep all kitchen utensils, tools,
foods, and other everyday items within your elder's easy reach,
and not high above on enclosed cabinetry shelves.
Garage doors that
are more sensitive. The
garage door that automatically opens and closes with the push of
a button should also have the relatively new technology that
senses any sort of obstruction in its path and immediately
reverses its movement as a safety measure in the event of such a
detected obstruction or otherwise object in the way.
addition. Making sure that your stairway has two handrails
as opposed to just one dramatically helps curbs the chances of
your elder's losing their balance and subsequently falling, as
getting up and down the stairway becomes much easier. Be
sure the additional handrail is of the appropriate length, and
is correctly attached to sturdy framing at the appropriate
devices. You should consider purchasing and installing
smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that are
specifically designed for the hearing impaired, as such devices
alert the hearing impaired of either a fire or carbon monoxide
through the flashing of strobe lights in addition to the sound
of the usual alarm. There are also phones that turn the
lights off and on in a house to alert the hearing impaired of a
Lights, and more
of them. The elderly often have a diminished sense of
sight, so you should consider adding more light, and having each
light fixture installed with a light bulb that has a higher watt
output; make sure your electrical fixtures, of course, can
handle increased light watt output, so check with your architect
and local housing authority. While you are at that, you
should consider installing interior motion-sensing lights so
that your elder can walk with ease, knowing that lights should
turn on while just moving about.
support the elderly. An ideal shower for the elderly is
one that is designed with comfortable support in mind.
This means having a shower outfitted with grab bars securely
attached to sturdy studs behind the finish paneling of the
shower; a built-in seat made a part of the shower for additional
support; and non-slippery floors in the shower, itself. If
you must, you can buy a shower chair and non-skid floor mats
specially made for the shower separately. A shower like
this is truly a senior shower, and many companies specialize in
the manufacturing of such showers. In particular, seek
safety tubs and walk-in tubs.
Staircases/stairways should be skid-proof. To help prevent
accidental falls on the stairway, buy and install non-skid
adhesive stair strips on your stairway.
Switch from gas
to electric. The elderly often have a diminished sense of
smell, so their ability to detect a gas leak is not as good as
those of who are younger. In this sense, it may be wise to
have the power utilities of your elderly loved one to all be
switched to electricity as opposed to just gas or a mixture of
gas and electricity.
and doorknobs. If your elderly loved one must move around
at night, it may be wise to have certain things glow in the dark
for the easy location of such, and this includes light switches,
outlets and doorknobs. You can search for glow-in-the-dark
light switches, glow-in-the-dark doorknobs, and glow-in-the-dark
outlets at home improvement centers and online.
support the elderly. An ideal toilet for the elderly, like
an ideal shower, is one that is designed with comfortable
support in mind. This means having a toilet outfitted with
grab bars securely attached to the toilet so as to provide
support on both sides of the toilet to get up from and sit down
These are just some safety measures you can take
in the interests of keeping your elderly loved one safe at home.
Contact your local AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), local fire department,
among other entities, for more
information. You may even want to contact your local Red Cross
chapter and see if they offer any sort of elderly safety courses, such
as those in which they teach you first aid for the elderly.
Handyman Zone Team
ADT Monitored- Free Home Security System!