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Posted on April 5, 2016 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Most adults want to remain in their own homes in their later years. However, accidents are a major cause of injury and death in the senior population. Successful aging in place is dependent upon certain safety measures taken within the senior’s home. It is important to remember that as an individual’s abilities decline the number of hazards in the home increase. Most accidents can be prevented with proper assessment and planning. The following list is a good place to begin:

1. Clear all pathways of obstruction and ensure they are wide enough for easy access.

2. Remove throw rugs and either replace or repair damaged carpeting.

3. Phone cords and extension cords should never cross a pathway.

4. Cords are in good repair and circuits are not overloaded.

5. The thermostat of the water heater should be set at or below 110 degrees.

6. All areas of the home are well lit.

7. Handrails are secure and placed in correct locations.

8. Stairs are sturdy and in good repair. Stairs have non slip strips or secured carpeting that is free of fraying or holes.

9. Smoke detectors are located in hallways and near bedrooms.

10. Bath tub or shower has a nonskid surface.

11. A handheld shower head makes it easier to shower from while sitting.

12. A raised toilet seat makes sitting and standing easier.

13. Grab bars are installed by the tub and toilet. Grab bars are sturdy and secure.

14. Chairs are sturdy and in good repair. Chairs with arms are a safer option than those without arms.

15. Outside steps and walkways are in good repair. Hand rails are located in appropriate locations.

16. Outside lighting is adequate around walkways and doorways.

17. Inside stairways have switches at both top and bottom of the stairs.

18. Emergency numbers are located by each phone.

19. Medical history that includes contacts, medications, physicians and allergies is plainly identified and placed on the refrigerator door.

20. Medications are kept in the bottles they came in. The senior can identify the name, purpose and frequency the drug is prescribed.

21. A personal emergency response system is in place for instant access to assistance.

22. Wheel chairs should be fitting with seat belts.

23. If there are different levels within the home portable ramps may be installed by a professional.

24. When stairs are a problem stair lifts may be installed by a professional.

25. Check refrigerators and cupboards have a supply of food.

26. The senior has a way to obtain groceries and medications, pay bills, banking and get to medical appointments.

27. Outside walkways and driveway is cleared of snow and ice as soon as possible.

28. Regular visits by family members or welfare checks conducted by an agency.

These 28 points are a good start to ensuring that a person ages in place safely. There are other special considerations depending on functional abilities. These will be looked at in future articles.

Dan Fisher RN, BSN, CEO