Home is typically where we feel most secure, but as our health evolves with age, it may no longer be as accommodating of our needs. And the changes required to make it safer and more accessible may be more of a hassle and an expense than you realize. However, senior living can offer you a solution. Check out the senior living safety features communities like ours provide for your peace of mind.
Falls are one of the top safety risks for seniors. In fact, falls among adults 65 and older caused over 3 million ER visits and over 36,000 deaths in 2020, making it the leading cause of injury death in this group, according to the CDC. The National Institutes of Health also reports that adults 65 and older are almost three times more likely to die in a fire than the general population of the United States.
Moreover, the CDC reports that adverse drug events account for approximately 350,000 hospitalizations each year. With the complexities many seniors face in managing multiple prescription medications daily, it’s easy to see how mistakes can be made, putting them at risk.
The reasons that injuries from falls, fires, and medication errors are much more common among those 65 and older may include weaker muscles, more brittle bones, slower reaction times, impaired vision and balance, and/or diminished cognitive abilities.
You can take steps to improve safety at home, including the following.
Clear walking paths, add handrails to both sides of the stairs, make sure to have adequate lighting, remove throw rugs, install grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom, and avoid standing on step stools or ladders (get a reach stick instead). Also, ensure you have the appropriate mobility devices to help you safely move around the home.
Stay in the kitchen while cooking and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes. Keep flammable items (dishtowels, paper/plastic bags, curtains) at least three feet from your cooktop and grills 10 feet away from the house, shrubs, or bushes. Avoid space heaters, if possible; otherwise, keep them at least three feet from anything flammable, and always turn them off when leaving the room. Also, inspect your furnace and/or fireplace yearly, check smoke/carbon monoxide detectors semi-annually, and have easily accessible fire extinguishers. Lastly, never leave a room with a candle burning, and don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly in addition to reading the package insert. Also, take medications for the full duration of the prescription (even if you feel better), refill prescriptions early to avoid running out, and use pill organizers or apps to keep track of your medications and dosage times.
In addition to 911, have poison control as well as your neighbors’ numbers handy and identify at least two ways to exit your home in case of emergency. Also, consider getting a generator in case of a power outage to keep oxygen and dialysis machines functioning. What’s more, we believe a personal emergency response system (a wearable call button that contacts first responders and/or a friend or family member in an emergency) is a must.
Depending on your specific needs, modifications may also be necessary to make your home more accessible. However, this is often not only a hassle but can also be expensive as opposed to the standard senior living safety features in communities. For example, according to Angie’s List, the average costs of some of the most common modifications to make a home more accessible include the following.
While the tips and modifications above can improve safety and give you peace of mind at home, it can be a lot to manage in terms of hassle and cost. On the other hand, it may be easier to find a sense of safety and security in senior living. This is because we focus on senior living safety, which means communities like ours are designed specifically for accessibility and include fire safety features, as well as emergency response systems, grab bars, ramps, and generators.
What’s more, team members are onsite 24/7, and our specialized care programs include medication management. You’ll also have peace of mind that many of our communities offer multiple levels of care on the same campus for added senior living safety and comfort.
Beyond senior living safety, our communities offer plenty of other benefits that can also be harder to come by at home, such as maintenance-free living, a full calendar of social and enrichment opportunities, and a host of amenities. It all combines to make life more convenient and help you thrive!
To learn more about the benefits of senior living, download our Choosing the Right Community Guide today!