Common Home Hazards for Seniors

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When you are visiting your senior loved ones for the holidays, take a look around to make sure their environment is safe. For many seniors, illnesses and natural processes of aging can be threatening. Seniors living in their own homes face additional threats in the form of home hazards. Some medical conditions, like dementia, can make these hazards even more risky.

Common Hazards for Seniors

  • Throw rugs or steep stairs that could cause falls
  • Poison for pests or chemicals in cleaning supplies
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Fire
  • Choking
  • Sharp objects that are not secured
  • Stoves and other hot devices

Extra precautions and preparedness are important for seniors who are more vulnerable than others. For instance, the following conditions increase vulnerability:

  • Memory-related health problems
  • Chronic fatigue or poor sleeping habits
  • Living in areas prone to natural disasters
  • Experiencing poverty
  • Limited mobility
  • Multi-level homes
  • Dulled senses like reduced hearing, eyesight, or sense of smell

Safety Tips and Technology

Often, improving senior home safety involves making minor adaptations or additions. Use this checklist to minimize falls and other risks in the home:

  • Add supports to chairs, walls, bathroom fixtures, etc.
  • Use brighter bulbs and add more lighting
  • Remove loose rugs and other tripping hazards
  • Find light switches with built-in night lights
  • Get devices like life-alert buttons that seniors can wear
  • Set loud alarms on stoves, cell phones, and other appliances when they are turned on for a long time or need to be recharged
  • Create a plan for regular check-ins by friends or family
  • Keep poisons and chemicals in a secure place away from edible items
  • Schedule regular checks on fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and other alert systems
  • Update ventilation to prevent smoke, mold, and other hazardous build-up
  • Remove clutter and arrange furniture for easy navigation
  • Run cords and other tripping hazards along walls or out of the way

Signs a Senior is at High Risk of Falling

The National Institute on Aging (nihseniorhealth.gov) says that losing a steady, healthy balance and gait is common among seniors. Other factors, like certain medications and diseases, can increase difficulty with balance:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dehydration
  • Disorders of the Foot or Legs
  • Thyroid or Blood Issues
  • Weakened Muscles
  • Sensory Issues with Hearing, Vision, or Neuropathy

To determine if a senior is at high risk of falling, watch for the following signs:

  • A change in gait
  • Difficulty getting in and out of chairs or bed
  • Reaching for support when bending, moving, or climbing
  • Needing breaks while moving about routinely, like while climbing upstairs
  • Straining to see clearly
  • Watching one’s feet while moving
  • Shuffling instead of lifting the feet when walking

If you notice signs like these, be proactive. Take steps to help seniors with preventative measures around the home and encourage them to practice walking safely outside the home as well.

Assisting Hands Home Care serving Columbus can help minimize in home risks by providing assistance with daily activities such as showering and personal care, meal preparation, and ambulation. Talk to us today about how our professional caregivers can support your senior loved one’s safety at home – and give you peace of mind.