When you have older adults in your house, home safety becomes your top priority.
So, if a loved one is planning to move with you, here are some simple tips for creating a personal home safety checklist for elderly.
Sit Down and Talk
Our relationship with elders is not always easy – be it an old uncle, a grandma or an aging parent – and caring for the elderly indeed consists of what psychology calls as the caregiver burden. However, no matter how much exhausting it is to be a family caregiver, you need to remember that home safety takes the top priority and the best way to keep the elderly of your home safe is by having an open and honest conversation with them.
If you are worried about the safety of the elders, especially when they are living in a house with no cameras or alarms, talk to them about it. Share your worries with them. And, if you’ve decided to install a home security system, talk to your elders about their preferences.
Keep a List of Emergency Numbers Ready
We always try our best to keep elders happy and safe, yet disasters can happen. Dangers lie everywhere and they are completely unpredictable. You might have installed a stair lift or added stainless steel grab bars in the house, but maybe while reaching for the drawers near her bed, your grandma fell on the floor.
This is a simple example of how emergencies could emerge out of nowhere and during this moment of crisis, it’s difficult to remember important numbers. Yes, 911 is very easy to remember, but when it’s a case of food poisoning or accidental ingestion, having the Poison Control number is very important. So, make it a priority to have a notebook with all the emergency contacts listed down.
One caveat: This notebook should be stored in a place that’s visible and easily accessible. And, make sure that the information and numbers in the list are written or printed in large characters.
Use Every Day Caution
In the South Indian society I used to live in, they used to emphasize on giving respect to elders and caring for them unconditionally. So, it was expected from the youngsters to always look after every need of the elderly. And, today the same goes for many communities and houses. However, if you want to keep elders safe at home, it’s important to make them apply extra caution in their everyday life and everyday activities.
Hazards could be lying anywhere, even amidst little things, like reaching out to something or putting something back in overhead cabinets. So, it’s vital to make elders take extra care in all the things they do every day.
Say No to Strangers
I talk too much. In fact, I know I talked too much yet, I still love talking too much. And, I think this is why most old people love talking to me. They remain most of the time alone; they do not have much activity in their lives and they are generally cut off from the hub-hub of life. So, when they find good listeners and conversationalists – be it at a bus stand or in a hospital waiting queue –they would always try to strike up a conversation with these people.
Older adults have seen a lot and done a lot in their lives and it’s wonderful to receive advice from these experienced people, but I don’t think it’s “wise” to hold a conversation with strangers on the doorstep.
When someone is knocking on your door or is in front of your house in the middle of the night, you don’t usually open the door to ask them what they want. But, things might be a little bit different when it’s in the middle of the day and the elderly are alone at home. Once they believe that the strangers on their doorstep are genuine, they won’t hesitate to call them inside and even offer them a cup of tea.
If you are truly concerned for the safety of the elderly in your home, make them understand that if they are alone at home, under no circumstances should they let any strangers inside the house.