How to Keep Your Loved One Safe at Home
If you’re caring for an older loved one, you might be undertaking this task in their home, or in yours. Either way, it is likely that the house is not already set up for caretaking duties of this magnitude. The design of most homes does not take into account the tasks and responsibilities you face on a daily basis.
So take a second look at the rooms where your loved one spends most of their time (the living room, their bedroom, bathroom, and hallways). You might need to make some changes to keep him or her safe, and make your days run a bit more smoothly.
In the bathroom:
- How high is the toilet? A raised toilet can help a lot with comfort, as well as aid independence
- Consider installing handrails so that your loved one can get up and down from the toilet more comfortably
- Purchase nonskid mats for the floor and shower stall
- Install a special seat in the shower for easier bathing, along with handrails to prevent falls
- Check for a clear pathway for walking: No rugs, room dividers that can be tripping hazards, or slippery floors
- Install nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways for safety at night
- Consider installing hand rails for assistance by the bed, or in well-trafficked areas
- Check all smoke detectors regularly, to ensure they’re still working
- Purchase fire extinguishers and keep them in strategic places around the home
- Keep emergency contact numbers posted in an accessible location
- Consider special equipment such as a hospital-style bed, a lift for the stairs, and ramps for wheelchairs
Consider communication. These days, we have access to technology that can assist us in caregiving duties. Your choices will of course be guided by the interest and abilities of your loved one, but some common options include:
- A bell or some other device, so that he or she can summon you without having to yell across the house
- Program a phone with speed dial, so that you or your loved one can access help quickly in an emergency
- Select a phone with a large digital display, for easy reading
- Consider a phone with voice enhancer if your loved one has hearing difficulties
- A medical alert system can help your loved one get help with just a push of a button (this is essential if you ever leave him or her alone for short periods of time)
- A baby monitor isn’t just for babies; it can help you keep an “ear” on your loved one while you cook, do yard work, take a shower, and so on
As a trusted member of our community, Hospice of the Valleys, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) has been providing hospice care to the Inland Valley and Fallbrook for over 34 years. Please call us for senior community resources, or for information about hospice care. We’re here to help. 951-200-7800.