Your aging loved ones should always feel safe in their home and you can help them to feel safer with a few simple home security and safety tips for seniors.
From falls to home invasions, seniors do face risks, especially when living alone. You can show them ways to better secure their homes.
With a little assistance from you, the senior in your life can continue to live an active lifestyle. All it takes is spending some time talking to them and helping prevent safety and security issues before they become a problem.
Securing The Home
Burglary is one of the most common crimes in the United States with one break-in committed every 15 seconds. The FBI even reports over eight million property crimes in 2014 alone. Seniors are often targeted because they forget to lock their doors, leave a spare key in an obvious place and may live alone. You can greatly reduce the risk by helping your elderly loved one make a few changes to their home security.
Create a quick check-list of security tasks your loved one should perform as they’re leaving, after getting home and before going to bed. The list should include:
- Lock all doors and windows
- Arm the alarm system (if they have a security system installed)
- Turn on an inside light (when leaving the house only)
You can further secure your aging loved one’s home by:
- Adding locks to windows if none exist
- Replacing thin doors with a stronger metal or hardwood door
- Installing deadbolt locks on all outer doors
- Installing a security system
- Adding motion sensor lights outside doors
All of these help deter potential thieves and keeps the senior in your life safer.
Security Tips Inside The Home
You should talk to your elderly loved one about how to stay safer when they’re home alone. One of the top security and safety tips for seniors is to have the senior always take their phone with them to the door when someone knocks. Since seniors sometimes move slower, having the phone with them allows them to call for help quickly if necessary.
Advise the seniors in your life to avoid opening the door for anyone they don’t know. If they live in an apartment or gated community, tell them to never buzz in anyone they don’t recognize. One more vital tip is to ask your aging loved one to give you or a trusted neighbor a spare key versus leaving one under a mat or in a key box. Thieves know all the major hiding places and will likely find the key.
Improve Safety For Seniors
According to the CDC, 2.5 million older adults go to the emergency room due to falls, and a third of seniors fall each year. The problem is, only half of those who fall will report the fall to their doctor. Advise the senior in your life to tell their doctor about any falls. There could be underlying damage that could result in a second fall.
In most cases, it’s not the age of your loved one that’s the problem. Your aging loved one could become dizzy due to a new medication or simply slip on a slick floor. Remember, most falls are preventable by following some basic security and safety tips for seniors.
Help reduce your elderly loved one’s chance of falling by:
- Using non-skid rugs
- Adding non-skid bathroom mats (in and out of the shower/bath)
- Installing handrails in the shower
- Taping down rug edges or carpet that’s curling up
- Moving all items, such as food and clothing, to an easy to reach height
- Moving clutter out of walkways, such as cables and grandchildren’s toys
- Adding ramps in place of outdoor stairs
- Ensuring any stair rails are secure and sturdy
- Ensuring all walkways outdoors are well lit
A final thing you can do is ask your aging loved one to wear a medical alert necklace, especially ones that detect falls. Many of these systems aren’t only for medical emergencies. They’re also for contacting the police, fire department or even a loved one (if the emergency isn’t too severe). These systems provide one touch access to a live person so the senior in your life can get the help they need, even if they can’t reach a phone.
Your elderly loved one can feel safer in their home. You can help make that happen by visiting often and talking to them about safety and security. Following some vital security and safety tips for seniors is key to helping your aging loved one live a safer, more secure lifestyle.
Ready to talk to the seniors in your life? Use the safety materials from Safety Education Alliance to start the conversation.
*image courtesy of British Red Cross