As we age, we may develop physical and cognitive limitations. These limitations can result in unsafe situations. Some suggestions for keeping our older loved ones safe at home include:
- Label cabinets and doors to help your loved one find things easily.
- Secure medicines, cleaning or other toxic products, sharp or dangerous items.
- Prevent falls by keeping floors clear (remove area rugs and cords), keeping your loved one’s cane or walker nearby, and the home well-lit.
- Put non-skid surface pads on stairs, install grab bars in the bathroom, secure hand- rails on stairs, and use a bath chair for bathing.
- Limit access to cramped areas like attics, basements and storage rooms.
If your aging loved one has dementia, you likely know that oftentimes, people with dementia walk aimlessly or wander. They may be bored, or confused, or looking for something or someone. They also may be trying to fulfill a physical need—thirst, hunger, a need to use the toilet, or exercise. The following tips may help prevent wandering:
- Make time for regular exercise to minimize restlessness.
- Lock doors and position locks higher or lower than eye level (keep in mind safety of other family members in the household as well).
- If your loved one wanders out the door, consider masking it with a curtain or other visual barrier.
- Consider installing a home security system or monitoring system designed to keep watch over someone with dementia.
- Encourage your loved one to wear a GPS watch or other technology to locate them if they wander off.
- Have your loved one wear an ID bracelet or sew ID labels in clothing.
- Tell neighbors about your relative’s wandering behavior, and make sure they have your phone number.
Assessing the home environment and being prepared is helpful, but the more challenging part of ensuring your older loved one’s safety is being readily available for all situations. When we are preoccupied with our own responsibilities, we cannot watch and intervene when our senior is in a hazardous situation.
If you are concerned about your aging loved one’s safety, but have limited availability to be present, senior care may be an ideal option. A trusted home health care agency can provide trained and experienced caregivers who can deliver compassionate senior care.
At ClearPath, we are dedicated to providing high-quality, low-cost home health care services in Akron, Ohio and surrounding areas. We also offer skilled nursing care with our team of devoted home health nurses. Cardio-pulmonary management, disease education/management, infusion therapy, wound care, catheter care, and medication instruction/administration are just a few of the services we provide.