Home Safety for the Older Adult
This topic is very important since the percentage of those who want to ‘Age in Place’ remains high at 70% for those over age 65 (according to an AARP survey between November 2021 and November 2022).
“Of those surveyed by AARP, the following findings were documented by one third of the participants”:
- 79% would modify bathrooms with grab bars and no-step showers.
- 71% percent said the home had inside and outside accessibility issues (such as handrails outside or wheelchair ramps or exit doors that are easy to operate)
- 61% percent wanted an emergency response system.
- 48% percent wanted a smart-home device such as voice activated home assistant or doorbell camera.
Completing a review of the home using a checklist as a guide can help to identify potential issues that may need to be corrected or updated. A checklist was published by the CDC Foundation Department of Health and Human Services entitled “Check for Safety” “A Home Fall Prevention checklist for Older Adults”. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pubs/english/booklet_eng_desktop-a.pdf This is a fairly comprehensive guide that can be printed off and used to identify any potential hazards and it contains suggestions on correcting them. (Alice, would you want to have this available to your clients’ families as a perk?)
Additional suggestion not in the booklet might be to install some motion sensitive lights in the bedroom and bathroom to provide immediate illumination when arising from the bed or entering the bedroom or bathroom (or any other room in the home deemed necessary).
According to the AARP survey, 61% wanted an emergency response system. There are many life alert systems available for the older adult in case of a fall or emergency. Most older adults have a cell phone; however, this would not be the best option if the phone is out of reach at the time of the emergency.
One of the websites describing Medical Alert Systems is from NCOA.org (National Council on Aging) entitled “The 13 Best Medical Lert systems in 2023”. The packages described on this website offers a large range of features and prices that can be selected to best meet the older person’s needs and provide peace of mind for them and/or the family or guardian caring for them.
As the number of Seniors over the age of 65 increases significantly over the next two decades, safety in the home as they age in place is of paramount importance for their safety and well-being.