Categorized | Family Care

Safety tips to prepare for a senior move in

By Angela Rocheleau

Many families are consolidating living spaces this season by moving senior members into their homes. For some families this may be an arrangement just for the holidays. Nevertheless, families need to know how to best prepare for the transition. Here are three important safety tips to keep in mind.

1: Bathrooms, the smallest room in your home, can have many dangers. Just taking a shower or bath is not something to take for granted anymore. The bathtub/shower must be looked at in a different light due to the physical changes seniors may be experiencing. They may not have the same amount of strength or the same balance. Therefore, it is important for all concerned family members to make bathroom safety a priority by:

•having a mat or non-slip strips in the tub and shower;

•keeping nightlights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom;

•having a bath mat with a non-skid bottom on the bathroom floor;

•checking existing grab bars for strength and stability, and repair if necessary; and

•attaching grab bars, through the tile, to structural supports in the wall. Or install bars specifically designed to attach to the sides of the bathtub. If you are not sure how it is done, get someone who is qualified to assist you.

2: Stairs should be lit so that each step, particularly the step edges, can be clearly seen while going up and down stairs. The lighting should not produce glare or shadows along the stairway. You should be able to turn on the lights before you use the stairway from either end. Consider installing switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Use the maximum wattage bulb allowed by the light fixture. If you do not know the correct wattage, use a bulb no larger than 60 watts.

Reduce glare by using frosted bulbs, indirect lighting, shades or globes on light fixtures.

If no other light is available, keep an operating flashlight in a convenient location at the top and bottom of the stairs.

3: Medications that are not clearly and accurately labeled can be easily mixed up. Taking the wrong medicine or missing a dose of medicine can be dangerous.

Be sure that all containers are clearly marked with the contents, doctor’s instructions, expiration date and patient’s name.

Dispose of outdated medicines properly.

If there is a child in the home, request child-resistant closures from your pharmacist. Many poisonings occur when children living with grandparents go through the medicine cabinet or grandmother’s purse. Be sure child-resistant caps are properly closed after each use. Store medicines beyond the reach of children.

There are many things to keep in mind when living with seniors. But, most of all think preventively, avoid accidents and keep your senior safe at home.

Angela Rocheleau has 25 years of experience in the home health care industry focusing on leadership roles for the past two decades. She serves on the Better Business Bureau board of Central New England and the Executive Board of the Mass Council for Home Care Aides.

Leave a Reply