How Can You Help Seniors Stay Safe At Home?
Now that the kids are a little older, you may have thought that meant the end of baby-proofing the house and reminding them for the millionth time to look both ways before they cross the street. Your kids might have outgrown that phase, but your parents may be entering that stage of life for the second time. Making matters even more complicated, older adults are often not able to live entirely independently but aren’t candidates for long-term care either.
Fortunately, there are some options that allow you to keep your parents safe and secure in their own homes and also give you peace of mind. Other than some initial setup, about the only time investment on your part involves periodic check-ins to make sure that your loved one is okay.
Home Security for Seniors
In the United States, a property crime occurs once every 3.9 seconds. Furthermore, of the over $12 billion in property reported missing, over three-fourths is never recovered. Many seniors are especially vulnerable to property crimes, as they are likely to live in quiet and dark residential neighborhoods where many people take long vacations. In these situations, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. It is almost impossible to recover stolen goods, but its rather easy to prevent these instances from occurring in the first place.
It gets even better. There are some ways to protect a home without making it look like a fortress. Consider the following tips:
- Keep bushes and shrubs closely trimmed, especially ones that are in the backyard or away from the street. Criminals often use shrubs and bushes for cover.
- Rose bushes and other thorny vines are not just pretty to look at. When planted beneath windows, they are almost as effective as anti-theft bars. Burglars, like many other people, are inherently lazy at heart. If a house does not appear to be an easy mark, many will go to the next one down the street.
- By the same token, one of those small home security signs in the front yard is almost as effective as the security system itself. As a bonus, you can often configure the system to alert you when and if there is a break in, a feature that gives you additional peace of mind.
A mildly-aggressive dog is a good home security feature as well. Additionally, pets are a very good cure for senior loneliness, a condition that affects over 40 percent of senior adults. These individuals are more likely to deal with deteriorating health and an early death.
Outside safety is only part of the equation. There are hazards on the inside as well, especially with regard to falls. A third of people over 65 will fall, and in roughly half these cases, the injuries are so severe that the person can no longer live independently.
To keep people safe and independent inside their own homes, consider making a few adjustments in the house, like:
- Adding light at the tops and bottoms of stairs,
- Hiring a maid to keep the house or apartment clutter-free,
- Adding a good non-slip bath mat to the tub (this may be the most important item), and
- Removing rugs from traffic areas.
A senior yoga or tai chi class may be beneficial as well. These exercises improve a person’s sense of balance and thus minimize fall risk even further. Moreover, the social interaction from these classes staves off senior loneliness.
Generally, everyone benefits when seniors stay in their homes as long as possible, and it’s important to give your loved ones the tools they need to do just that.