It's that time of year again -- the weather is improving, we're preparing for summer festivities and the annual rounds of spring cleaning are underway. Your classic spring-cleaning checklist usually involves core tasks like vacuuming, dusting, window washing and de-cluttering, but spring is also an excellent time to tackle some tasks that will make your home safer and more secure.
Household safety is especially important when it comes to seniors, who unfortunately experience many of their injuries within the home. Factors like declining vision, hearing loss and worsening bone density make injuries from minor trips and falls more likely. Additionally, if injured, it can take seniors longer to heal and recover fully.
By making some little changes around the home you can reduce the chance of household injuries for yourself or the senior loved ones in your life. It all comes down to identifying potential hazardous spots and removing or diminishing them as much as possible. There's no better time to get started on the path to a safer household for seniors than right now when you're freshening up your home for spring. Here's how to get started.
Maintain Good Lighting
Because seniors' vision often declines as they age, it's extremely important to maintain good lighting all throughout the house, as well as outside main household entrances and walkways. Keeping the outside of your home well-lit is very important if you reside in a rural area where there are not many streetlights or sources of external lighting.
Light switches within the home should be easily accessible and in obvious areas. It's also a good idea to keep nightlights in main rooms like bathrooms and kitchens in case it's necessary to get up in the middle of the night.
Prevent Slips and Trips
There are a few excellent preventative measures you can take to avoid slips and trips around the home. The first is by installing sturdy railings along outdoor pathways and decks, and by ensuring that handrails are installed along indoor stairways. Additionally, aids like grab bars inside bathtubs and showers can prevent slips in the bathroom.
Another way to ensure that you or the loved ones in your life stay safe from falls is by placing mats and rugs securely in place to keep them from slipping. Also make sure to clear away items and obstacles on the ground daily to create a defined path for walking. That includes making sure that pets and children are out of the way, too!
An often overlooked key to creating safe spaces for seniors is organizing everyday household items so that they are easily accessible, easy to lift and simple to use. Some good examples of items that fall into this category are pots and pans, first aid kits and toiletries that are used on a daily basis.
This same premise applies to any medications or nutritional needs you or the senior in your life may have. Organize your home so that the most important medications, supplements and nutritional requirements are easily accessible. If you have daily medication requirements, it's helpful to lay these out at the beginning of the week so that everything is ready to go on Monday.
While it isn't something we like to think about, sometimes emergencies happen! It's better to be well prepared than caught off guard if something unexpected were to arise. Taking safety precautions is important for everyone, but especially for senior citizens who may have additional mobility and health concerns.
When you're doing your spring-cleaning this year, take the time to ensure the following things are intact and functioning at full capacity: smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and safely secured electrical outlets. It's also crucial to develop fire safety routes in case of an emergency. If you're caring for older adults, make sure they know these routes well and are aware of the main exits in their building.
Safety and security for seniors is all a matter developing the necessary precautions to reduce risks and eliminate injuries. So while you're taking the time to do a little spring cleaning this season, add these simple steps to your list for a safer and more secure home.
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