Key tips to ensure safety at home for older people

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If you were wondering how best to keep your elderly loved ones safe through all seasons, below is a list of the Key tips for ensuring Safety in the home.

Install Emergency Alarms

  • Personal alarms can be useful as they often enable the person you’re looking after to remain at home rather than go into a residential care home
  • Many social services departments view alarms as daily living equipment and provide them free of charge following assessment

There are many options:

  • Portable alarms Can be bought from high street shops, through mail order or online. They are worn by the person you’re looking after and make a high-pitched sound when triggered, which can be heard from a limited distance.
  • Fixed position alarms. These have a fixed transmitter and receiver and are operated by a pull cord or similar trigger which sends a high-pitched sound to alert anyone within a limited distance.
  • Portable alarms with a fixed-position receiver. These are worn around the neck or wrist, and the alarm can be triggered by the person wearing them.
  • Portable transmitters and portable receivers. Both you and the person you are looking after wear the device around your neck or wrist. This makes it easier for you to be aware of when the alarm is triggered. It is suitable for a limited range such as when either of you is in the house or the garden.

You may want an alarm that can monitor the person you are looking after if you’re in another room of the house. There are several, including one-way intercom, falls alarms, movement monitors, wandering alarms and hypothermia alarms

If you can, it’s a good idea to see a demonstration of the alarms available before you make a decision.

Sort out front door security

  • Fit a chain and encourage your parent to keep it on at all times
  • Look at a keyless entry system helps people who have difficulty using keys to open their front door. They are especially suitable for those who have to let in carers, or would benefit from instant home access in case of emergencies
  • Make sure a local trusted neighbour or friend has a spare key
  • Make sure you are aware about the most likely doorstep scams

Fall prevention

Falling is the most common type of at home accident for the elderly especially for those over 80 where 40% are likely to fall at some point. However, with certain precautions, most accidental falls can be prevented.

  • Ensuing good lighting
  • Buying long life bulbs means they last longer and do not need to be changed frequently
  • Highlight outer edges of steps
  • Tidy up trailing wires and de-clutter walking areas and stairs and remove fraying carpet
  • Use non-slip mats under rugs
  • Discard poorly fitting shoes or slippers and do not wear high heels. Avoid trailing clothes.
  • Use non-slip rubber mats in the bath or shower
  • Install handrails by the toilet, bath and stairs to aid balance and help your parent to get around
  • Remove casters from moveable furniture, which makes them more stable
  • see a video on fall prevention

What should you do if your parent falls?

  • Don’t panic
  • Do not move them yourself and call an ambulance
  • Keep them warm

Fire prevention

The elderly are more at risk from fire due to a poor sense of smell, restricted or slow mobility and less resilience to the effects of smoke and burns. You can help by:

  • Fitting smoke alarms, one on each floor read more on checking smoke alarms
  • Encouraging your parent to ensure that all cigarette ends are safely extinguished
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using electric blankets and have them checked regularly.
  • Ensure that all fuel burning boilers, fires and stoves are checked annually by a qualified person
  • Contact burns to those over 65 can prove to be fatal. The main sources include radiators, electric fires and cookers. Scalding involving the use of kettles causes many injuries.
    • Try to use radiator covers and be careful when purchasing electric fires and halogen hobs.
    • Buy a cordless kettle
    • Do not boil full kettles, as they are difficult to lift and pour safely
    • Use a fireguard and ensure nightwear is fire resistant
    • Fit thermostatically controlled bath taps
    • Always run the cold water first when having a bath or shower

 is a UK-focused information website and social forum aiming to providing everything you need, or want to know or discuss about caring for an older person all in one place. From positive ways to keep them active and healthy, to maintaining their financial and legal needs, through to specific information on care options, local authority funding and age-related health issues. The website draws on a wide range of experts, consultants, lawyers and charities, providing an authoritative and continuously updated source of information. It a member of The Society of Later Life Advisors and is used as a key information resource by many UK local authorities and GP practices. Contact [email protected]

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