Most seniors agree that living independently in their homes as long as possible is a priority for their ideal lifestyle. This is often an attainable goal for healthy seniors, but for those who have mobility limitations, chronic illness or experience cognitive decline, staying safe at home may require more effort and supervision from the person’s family members. If living on their own is a priority for your loved one, creating a home safety plan can help both of you sleep better at night knowing plans are in place to keep them safe.
According to Nancy Clanton, Community Relations Director at Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, a senior living community in Venice, Florida, the first step to creating an effective home safety plan is to assess your loved one’s needs and limitations. “Try to look at daily life and emergency situations through your loved one’s point of view,” says Clanton. “Do they have trouble getting in and out of the bath? How about reaching items in the cupboard? Is your loved one likely to wander outside without a coat? Would they open the door to a stranger? Is there anything that would make them especially vulnerable to injuries? Could they manage an emergency situation on their own?
“These questions aren’t always pleasant, but honest answers can help you see just how thorough your loved one’s home safety plan should be. Fully imagining their risks now can help them avoid dangerous situations and prepare for as independent a lifestyle as possible.”
Considerations for All Aspects of Home Safety
As you and your family come up with a plan to keep your senior loved one safe at home, try to consider all components of living alone and how well your loved one is able to manage different tasks. If your loved one suffers from dementia or other cognitive impairments, you may need to consider even the most basic tasks of daily living. The Alzheimer’s Association offers extensive advice on how to keep someone with dementia safe. Whether your loved one has dementia or not, resources and tips such as these can be applied to your situation and help you get ideas for your own safety plan.
Prevent Injuries by Adapting the Home
- Remove any tripping hazards, such as rugs, and rearrange furniture so rooms are easy to navigate.
- Keep hallways well lit, especially at night, to avoid bumping into walls or sharp corners.
- Install safety bars along porch steps or in the bathroom to help with balance.
Manage Home Maintenance
- Have someone check the home for electrical fire hazards and frozen pipes in winter.
- Periodically check the home for cleanliness, e.g., kitchen counters are clean, laundry is done, no messes are left for long periods of time. If you learn that a task has become too difficult for your loved one, find them help (hired or otherwise) for that task.
- Make sure the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector work and replace the batteries as needed.
Ensure Security Measures Are in Place
- Install a security system that sets off an alarm when someone enters the home. If your loved one is prone to wandering, find a system that sends you an alert when someone leaves the house as well.
- Keep blinds or curtains closed at night or when the room is not occupied.
- Install deadbolts on outside doors.
- Sign up your loved one for the Do Not Call list or purchase a phone with Caller ID to prevent possible telemarketing scams.
- Urge your loved one not to invite a stranger into their home.
Prepare for Emergencies
- If your loved one has limited mobility, move their bedroom to the first floor of the house. Make sure all exits are easily accessible and can accommodate any mobility devices.
- Display a list in a visible place, such as the refrigerator or by the front door, that includes all emergency contacts and phone numbers. Include the name and number of your loved one’s doctor, pharmacy, caregiver and any others that might need to be contacted in case of an emergency. Write the list in large, easy-to-read print.
- Purchase your loved one a medical ID bracelet to wear.
- In case of a natural disaster, prepare an emergency kit in a water-proof case. Include bottled water, prepackaged food, a flashlight and batteries, extra clothes, extra medication or medical devices and copies of important documents, such as legal papers, insurance documents and lists of medications and dosages.
- If an evacuation is necessary, decide who will be responsible for helping your loved one.
Make and Execute Your Plan
Your loved one’s home safety plan may likely vary from the suggestions above, depending on their needs and the resources available to you, so continue to research the best methods to ensure your loved one’s safety. Once you have developed a plan to keep them safe, execute your plan by assigning different tasks or responsibilities to family members who live nearby. You and your family will soon enjoy peace of mind from knowing your loved one is safe and sound at home.
Support for Your Loved One’s Senior Lifestyle
Whether you’re helping to care for a loved one at home or are looking to find an assisted living or memory care community that can meet their health and wellness needs, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay can help you and your loved one through all of life’s changes and challenges. “Making sure a loved one is safe is every caregiver’s top priority,” shares Clanton. “At Tuscan Gardens, we understand your concerns – we’ve had them, too! – and we can help you find the resources you both need to keep on living well.
“If you need assistance creating a home safety plan for your loved one, or could use advice on any senior living issues, don’t hesitate to contact Tuscan Gardens for guidance you can trust.”
The Art of Living
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we’ve mastered the art of living. We’ve perfected the balance of personalized support and an uplifting lifestyle, helping our residents experience independence, joy and meaning every day.
Offering supportive independent living, assisted living and memory care services for families in Venice, Florida, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay was founded with one simple, yet profound goal – to create a community worthy of our parents. In all we do, we are guided by the principles of family, culture and engagement, working to represent the remarkable way of life our families deserve.
Luxury, intimacy, opportunity, passion and beauty combine to create what the Italians call sprezzatura – a culture of effortless elegance. The essence of our community is made up not only of mere aesthetics, but an artfully designed lifestyle to bring out the best of what each day has to offer. From dedicated care that respects residents’ individuality and dignity to a lifestyle that nurtures their love of life, Tuscan Gardens was built to be more than just a residence, but a place to call home.