Most people in San Diego and throughout the USA wish to live independently as they get older for as long as possible. So once you have lined up the San Diego home care that your aging relative needs, you now need to make sure the house and your loved one’s personal belongings are as safe as possible. Here are the ten home dangers every San Diego senior caregiver should know:
- Clutter. Often older people do not like walking with bulky items in their arms so they tend to let things pile up on the stairs, by the door, or on or near the stove. Be aware of clutter on shelves and in upper cabinets that can fall and cause injury.
- Poor lighting. Many San Diego elderly suffer from poor eyesight issues so it is important to have a well lit home for them as this will help them avoid falls. Also a well-lit house will deter criminals. Motion sensors which automatically turn on the lights are another good idea.
- Bath and water hazards. Ensure that the water heater is set at a comfortable temperature at all times so as to avoid burns from scalding water. Place non-skid mats in front of the sink and tub to absorb excess water and prevent falls. It may also be a good idea to modify the bathtub so that it is easy for the older person to access. Install grab bars next to the toilet and around the tub-go for the screw-in type. Exchange faucet knobs in the kitchen and bath for levers since loss of strength can make it difficult to adjust the temperature.
- Throw rugs. Get rid of any clutter on the floors especially extension cords and rugs. Many San Diego seniors tend to shuffle due to arthritis, Parkinson’s or other movement disorders and consequently can easily trip over rugs etc.
- Home Temperature. Make sure that the temperature of the house is comfortable. Make sure your elderly relative is not in danger of heat exhaustion or hypothermia-both real concerns. Stop by at odd times to make sure they’re not scrimping on heating and placing themselves in danger. Make sure there is ample room for the car as well as for getting into and out of the car.
- Cooking and fire hazards. Look at how steady your relative’s hands are while cooking and also look at how they handle knives, if they can open cans properly, if their food is stored properly or how long they leave food out on the counter. Watch where they place a towel or oven mitt-are they aware of burners?
- Outdoor safety. Make sure your San Diego elderly loved one has a safe way to speak to anyone who comes to their door without opening it fully. For example install an intercom system so they can easily speak to anyone on the outside. Are the outdoor steps cracked or too large for them to comfortably climb, or have they pulled away from the house? Are there vines or other debris in the yard they could trip over? Are there overhanging branches, leaky roofs or other housing repair issues?
- Car safety. Look for any signs of damage on your elderly relative’s car as this may be a sign that their driving has become unsteady.
- Communication concerns. Make sure that your elderly relative can easily communicate with the outside world. A cordless phone is a good idea as they can take that with them at all times inside the house. Another idea is to place neon stickers on the phone or devise some other way to find phones in the dark or when they’re misplaced? A cell phone is also a good idea as long as you are sure your elderly relative knows how to use it.
- Emergency situations. Make sure your elderly relative knows what to do during an emergency such as floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and lightning strikes. Know where your parent’s nearest safety shelter is located. Know someone who lives nearby who can get to them quickly. Have their meds and pertinent documents ready at all times. Talk about how to handle an emergency and create mock scenarios you can walk through for practice.
These tips are invaluable and can save lives. If you do have any more questions, be sure to call a San Diego elderly care expert. They would be glad to give advice and lend a helping hand.