Senior Home Safety

Home Safe Homes Helps Improve Home Safety for the Sandwich Generation

Are you struggling to take care of mom and dad…AND your children?

Home Safe Homes helps people in the sandwich generation* care for both their parents and their children and keep them safe. We offer a variety of services in Child Safety and Accessibility Remodeling.

Throughout the next couple of weeks, we will be posting blogs on how Home Safe Homes can help put Sandwich Generationers’ minds at ease. This week’s blog concentrates the ways we are able to help you improve your parents’ independence in the home through accessibility remodeling, starting with bathroom safety and accessibility

Bathroom Safety

The CDC reported that 81 percent of injuries experienced by those 65 and older were caused by falls and that one of the most common environments, where falls occur, is in the bathroom. Over one-third of older individuals require hospitalization following a bathroom incident. “Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.” (“Home and Recreational Safety” 2017)

Consider these safety tips to reduce falls in the bathroom:

  • Ensure shower doors are made of safety glass or replace with a shower curtain.
  • Take extra care when on a wet surface. Slip-resistant flooring is recommended for bathrooms, such as paint-on applications or self-adhesive non-slip strips.
  • Grab bars are recommended in all positions around the bath and toilet. Never use a towel rail to support body weight.
  • Hand-held shower hoses are a good idea, as are shower chairs or bath seats when mobility or balance is in question.

Home Safe Homes strives to help prevent falls in the bathroom and to increase bathroom safety. Whether it is due to aging, illness or disability, when bathrooms need to be modified to reduce barriers for the safety and comfort of those at home — Home Safe Homes can help. Our professionals can advise you on grab bars and other equipment to modify your bathroom to ensure maximum safety and independence.

It is not uncommon for individuals to need help getting in and out of the tub or shower. One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways that Home Safe Homes is able to aide in increasing bathroom safety is through the installation of grab bars. Home Safe Homes keeps stainless steel, concealed screw grab bars in stock, and carry them on our truck. This means that it is possible for our team member to install grab bars the same day that they do a home safety evaluation.

In addition to grab bar installation, we also offer barrier free shower systems. The barrier-free showers that Home Safe Homes install are Best Bath brand. Barrier-free showers allow for easier entry and exit of the shower, especially for those who have difficulty lifting their foot over the lip of standard showers. Barrier-free showers also make it possible for wheelchairs to roll into and out of the shower, and transferring from a wheelchair to shower bench safer and more efficient. We are proud to partner with Best Bath and be able to install their wide array of barrier-free shower options.

For consultation, contact Home Safe Homes today.

 

* The sandwich generation is a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents.

Sources:

“Home Assessments | Indianapolis, IN.” Home Safe Homes, Home Safe Homes, 2018, homesafehomes.com/services/#bathroom-modifications.

“Home and Recreational Safety.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Feb. 2017, www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.

Improving Home Safety for Individuals with Visual Impairments

Vision loss occurs gradually as we age. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that the leading cause of vision loss is Cataracts. Cataracts affect half of the individuals who are 75 years or older. More accidents happen inside the home than anywhere else, even for individuals who are not blind or otherwise visually impaired. Consequently, it’s imperative that everyone develops and maintains strong safety habits in and around the home. For those who are starting to experience vision loss, this is especially true.

There are many practical and inexpensive ways of making a home safer for individuals with visual impairment.

Lighting and Glare Reduction

  • Make sure their home is well lit, with high-wattage light bulbs and additional lamps or task lighting.
    • The kitchen, bathroom and work areas all should be fully and evenly illuminated.
  • Under-counter lighting is another type that works well for illuminating the kitchen and other larger work areas.
  • Different qualities of light (more white or yellow, for example) might make it easier to see depending on the type of vision loss someone lives with.
    • It is beneficial to determine which types of bulbs produce the best kind of lighting to help your loved one see most clearly.
  • Consider adding gooseneck or clip-on lights to provide adjustable lighting options in work areas
  • Keeping lights on during daytime hours helps to equalize lighting from both indoor and outdoor sources.

Reduce Fall Risks

  • Eliminate small throw rugs
  • Keep electrical cords as close to the baseboards as possible and out of walkways.
  • Keep floor lamps and small items such as low tables, magazine racks, and plants out of walkways.
  • Clean up spills immediately. If you forget the spill is there, it could become a slipping hazard.
  • Make sure your bath mat has a non-skid backing.

Think Bigger

  • Look for items that come with larger buttons and print
    • These items include books, clocks, calendars, checkbooks, remote controls and much more
  • Magnifiers come in handy for items that do not come in large print
    • Some magnifiers to consider are:
  • Create a list of important phone numbers in large print on bold-lined paper. Include doctors, transportation, and emergency contacts, and put the list in a convenient place.
  • Clearly, mark stove dials and label all medications.
  • Label cleaning and toxic products to make them easily identifiable, and store them and any flammable or combustible items away from the kitchen or heating units.

Contrasting Colors are Key

For people with low vision, it is often difficult to find doorways, outlets, furniture, and stairs

  • Choose outlet covers whose colors contrast with the color of the wall
  • Select towels with colors that contrast with the bathroom wall and kitchen cabinets or stove
  • Cups, plates, bowls, and utensils of a color that contrasts with the table and countertop aids in food preparation and dining
  • Utilize cutting boards whose color contrasts with the food item
    • Dark cutting boards for light foods like onions and cheese
    • Light cutting boards for dark foods like tomatoes and apples
  • Pick area rugs that have a solid color
    • Patterns can make it difficult for the visually impaired to identify edges
  • Mark stairs or slopes with brightly colored tape.
    • Eye-catching colors that contrast with the flooring work best.
  • Suggest purchasing a large-screen television that produces high-contrast images.
  • Use brightly colored, fluorescent tape to mark the settings you typically use on your thermostat.

Organization

  • Remove unnecessary household clutter.
    • Offer to help with organizing important items and packing up others.
  • Organize cupboards and specify exact locations for important things.
    • If the cereal is always on the middle shelf of the pantry, for example, your loved one will not need to strain to try to determine if it is cereal or something else.
  • Set up consistent places for mail, keys, and other important items.
  • Use markers to print large labels for such everyday items as cleaning or cooking supplies
    • Be sure to keep cleaning supplies separate from food storage areas

Routine Eye Exams

Routine eye exams are essential to make sure you are wearing the best vision correction possible.

 

Sources

Bursack, Carol Bradley. “How to Make Life Easier and Safer for Seniors with Low Vision.” Legal Documents To Make Healthcare Decisions for Elderly Parents – AgingCare.com, Aging Care, 3 May 2018, www.agingcare.com/articles/making-life-easier-for-older-adults-with-low-vision-111675.htm.

Heiting, Gary, and Marilyn Haddrill. “Tips for Coping With Vision Loss.” All About Vision, June 2017, www.allaboutvision.com/over60/living-challenges.htm#top.

Nesburn, Anthony B, and Judith Delgado. “Vision Loss and Blindness.” Selected Long-Term Care Statistics | Family Caregiver Alliance, Family Caregiver Alliance, 2008, www.caregiver.org/vision-loss-and-blindness.

“Safety in the Home.” Continue Painting with Vision Loss – VisionAware, American Foundation for the Blind, 2018, www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/home-modification-/safety-in-the-home/123.

3 Ways to Reduce Invisible Risks Around Your Home

We often do a great deal of work to protect our families from dangers both inside and outside of our homes. However, we sometimes overlook one of the best ways to look out for our family – by examining the invisible risks around our home.

But how can you reduce your risk for dangers you can’t see? A great place to start is by addressing common household issues such as contaminants, media access, and emergency preparedness.

In this third article of our three-part series, we explore ways to protect your family with tips for reducing invisible risks around your home.

 

Contaminants

You can take concrete steps to protect your home from invisible contaminants such as carbon monoxide, radon, mold, and lead. For example, installing carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of your home and outside each sleeping area will help ensure a safe environment for everyone occupying your home.

Be sure to evaluate your home for mold, radon, and lead content, which can go undetected for long periods of time and lead to chronic illness when left unchecked. It’s important to eliminate the presence of any of these hazards in your home for the sake of your family’s health.

 

Media

Our homes these days are subject to a constant influx of media content through television airwaves, cable, satellite, and Internet access. You can protect your loved ones from access to unwelcome media content by installing quality Internet filters and proactively managing your children’s access to Internet and texting. Similar filters are available for televisions.

For families eager to maintain a healthy relationship with screen time, consider incorporating a service to control the amount of access you have to your devices overall.

 

Emergencies

Emergencies can happen any time, and taking steps to reduce your risk and improve your access to help can boost your chances of coming out safe and sound.

First, whether it’s a mobile phone or land line, ensure you have a working phone at all times. Keep telephone numbers for local police, fire, hospital, medical support, and poison control accessible for everyone inside your home, including babysitters.

Consider installing a home security system to alert you to intruders, and maintain regular contact with a neighbor, friend, or family member who can check in with you to ensure your wellbeing.

In addition, keep a supply of clean, fresh drinking water and non-perishable foods on hand in the event of a power outage or weather disaster. Emergencies tend to happen when they’re least expected, and your efforts to be prepared will help ensure your family is protected.

 

Safety is a priority for every generation and every family, and the invisible risks around our homes can be especially unsettling. With these simple steps, you can help protect your family’s security and wellbeing from unseen contaminants, unwanted media influences, and unexpected emergencies.

A little preparation can go a long way towards keeping your family safe and sound.

Customized Heavy Duty Stair lift

Learn How From a Home Safe Homes Client

Stair Lift on Ground FloorKnee and joint issues were causing pain as our client climbed and descended the stairs. It was becoming so bothersome that he started looking at his options. Either stay in the home he loves and add safety equipment to make maneuvering around his home easier, or move to a retirement facility. He decided he wasn’t ready to lose his independence and started searching for safety equipment online. His main priority was to install a stair lift. He went to a source he knew he could trust and that’s when he found our profile on Angie’s List.

 
Rails on the stairsWe provided a home assessment and took note of the additional features he wanted in his stair lift. Together we decided on a Harmar heavy-duty stair lift with the addition of a swivel seat. He is still using his stair lift today and continues to enjoy his independence as he ages in place.

 

 “Everything went very well. Kent McCool was very professional and reassuring. The price and quality was great. We also received a fantastic discount for being an Angie’s List member.”