The Home Safety and Health Wellness Checklist for Elders
Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury deaths in people 65 years and older?
This alarming statistic should be enough to cause every caregiver to rethink their current wellness and safety guidelines. Since 1 in 4 seniors will experience a fall at some point in their lives, it’s your job as a caregiver to improve the safety within their home and create an emergency plan. Whether you’ve been in the industry for decades or you’re relatively new, improve your homecare in Long Beach and the health of your patients with this home and safety wellness checklist from 24hr HomeCare.
Decrease Falling Risks
As your patients age, their sight decreases. They may also experience changes within their inner ear, which can result in difficulty balancing. Because of these age-related issues, seniors are at a greater risk of falling . As a caregiver, there are things you can do to decrease the chances of a fall occurring. For example, install light bulbs with higher wattage, illuminating your patient’s home better. Be sure to remove throw rugs or any décor that could be a tripping hazard. In the bathroom, place grab bars and raised toilet seats to reduce the risk of falling while using the restroom. It’s also a good idea to encourage your patients to wear sensible shoes, asgh-heels, flip-flops, and slippers may increase your patient’s fall risk.
How to Reduce Risk in the Bathroom
Along with installing grab bars and raised toilet seats, there are other things you can do to ensure that your patients remain safe while in the bathroom. Reducing the water temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees or less reduces the risk of burns. Also, each shower or tub floor in your patient’s home should be outfitted with a non-skid surface. Installing grab bars in the shower or tub is another great way to increase safety.
Bedroom Safety for Seniors
Many accidents in the bedroom can be easily prevented with just a few simple steps. Ensure that your patient has everything they need within reach. Place their phone, phone charger, water bottle, TV remote, glasses, and anything else that they might need on their bedside table or in an accessible drawer. It’s also a good idea to place nightlights around the room, making it easy for your patient to get up and make their way to the restroom or to the hall. Then, make sure that there are no items of furniture or clothing that remain on the floor, as these are tripping hazards. There should be a clear path from the bed to the bathroom at all times to prevent tripping.
Safe Kitchen Aids
It may be difficult to keep all your patient’s everyday kitchen items within reach. To make accessing these things easier, we recommend having a grabber available. These devices make it possible to reach items on high shelves without having to strain or use a stepstool. It’s also a good idea to frequently check the expiration dates of the food located in the pantry, cabinets, and fridge to ensure that they’re safe to eat. Perform inspections on all kitchen appliances regularly to verify that they’re in good working condition, too.
Stairway Hazard Safety
At some point, many seniors may require the help of a stair lift to go up and down the stairs. If this is the case, ensure that the device remains in good condition. Be sure to call for repairs immediately if needed. If your patient doesn’t require the use of a stair lift, make sure that the interior and exterior stairways remain well lit. The stairs should remain clutter-free, as well as the landings at the top and the bottom. Handrails should be securely fastened and be able to hold the weight of your patient as they climb or descend the stairs.
There are several other safety items that should be observed. The HVAC system should be inspected at least twice yearly, as should the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Fire extinguishers should be placed in the kitchen and garage with easy access in case of a fire. All doors and windows on your patient’s home should lock easily. In case of an emergency, your patient should have access to a phone at all times. If access to a phone is difficult, recommend an emergency alert system. These pendants or necklaces will call for help when pressed by your patient.
Once you’ve completed the above list of safety items for your patient, you can focus on their personal wellness. Your patient’s social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical wellness is just as important as their safety.
To ensure that your patient is socially and emotionally well, encourage them to arrange outings with friends and families. This prevents feelings of isolation and depression. You may need to arrange for transportation to and from these outings. If they are religious, make sure that they participate in worship services and that they can participate in activities that leave them feeling fulfilled spiritually. Clubs, classes, and participation in day-to-day tasks will keep them intellectually healthy and give them some sense of independence.
Keeping your patients physically well is as easy as ensuring that they participate in regular exercise and consume fresh, healthy foods. If necessary, prep healthy snacks that are easy for your patients to access. Prescriptions should be stored properly and taken as recommended by physicians. Also, make sure that your patients are attending each of their medical appointments, even if that means you must arrange for transportation.
The safety and wellness of your patients is the top priority of 24 Hour Home Care, and it should be yours, too. As a provider of homecare in Long Beach, it’s your duty to maintain your patient’s security. Whether you’re hired for around the clock care or a few hours a week, take the time to review this checklist with the family of your patient. Then, perform regular inspections to ensure that each of these guidelines is being met. Careful observation of these items ensures that the home of your patient is safe at all times.