When you think of your home, you probably think of safety and comfort. But did you know that it's also the place where most accidents occur, especially when we age? It is not always because the home itself is unsafe, it is mainly due to lack of preparing for decreased mobility, instability issues and vision problems. There are a few things that elders and their families can have installed into these homes to make them safer.
Medical Alert Systems
A medical alert system is a precautionary system designed with senior safety in mind. For a small subscription, you can add round the clock monitoring to your home at the push of a button. This is vital for seniors that live alone. In the event of a medical emergency or injury, the push of a single button alerts the monitoring facility that help is needed. The facility contacts the senior and gets the necessary help on the way.
These systems save lives. Most are worn as a bracelet or as a necklace and the signals can be read from anywhere in the home. Some of these devices have intercom systems built right into the device and others are wired throughout the home for a full intercom system.
This is our current top pick for medical alert systems. This is a two-way communication system that allows you to speak directly to whoever you've set up on the other end. It's also waterproof and extremely user friendly.
Home Security System
In today’s day and age, home invasions and break-ins are more prevalent. Seniors are often targeted for these crimes due to their lack of strength and ability to fight back against intruders. Home alarm systems aren’t just for when you’re not at home; they can protect you while you’re home too. It is ideal for seniors to have the alarms engaged in the early morning and evening hours. These are the most common times for home invasions.
Alarm systems protect all of the doors and windows in a home. Anytime that the alarm is tripped, the alarm company contacts the local police immediately and then contacts the customer to check on them and let them know that the police have already been called.
It used to be that you'd have to find a local security company to come out and hardwire a complicated system into your home. Today, that's not the case. In fact, our favorite home security system works directly with your Alexa smart home system. Here's a link to the Ring home security system. We also really love that there's an app you can use to monitor the system, so if you're worried about your loved one living alone, you can check in online. The system comes with a year of monitoring and automatically renews, so you can take one thing off your plate. It's extremely simple to set up, taking about two hours for everything, including the doorbell.
Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology is helpful for seniors. It is confusing at first, but once all of the electronic components in the home are setup properly on the system, it is easy to navigate. With this type of system, elders can have specific elements in the home, such as the coffee pot, stove and even the HVAC system set to turn on and off at a specific time. This helps to prevent the risk of fires in the home. It also prevents items from being left on for hours while not in use, wasting electricity and causing unnecessary increases on electric bills.
If you buy the Ring home security system we mentioned above, there's a nice suite of complementary products (including this popular thermostat) that integrate seamlessly and can be controlled via the Alexa app. It also allows monitoring from a loved one, even when you're not there.
Landline Phone System
A good portion of elders own cell phones, but not all of them remember to charge them. A landline telephone system, with at least one stationary phone in the home is important. In the event of a power outage or other emergency, this phone system can be used to call for assistance. The reason for the stationary phone is that it will still work during a power outage as long as the phone lines have not been damaged. This is the most user-friendly landline we've evaluated. It has large buttons, loud settings for those who are hard of hearing, and speed dial presets in the case of an emergency. Plus, it's corded, so you never have to worry about it being charged.
Gripping Handles for Stairways and Bathroom Areas
The bathroom and stairways are where a majority of elder injuries occur in the home. Installing gripping handles and sturdy railings is important. Along with the assistance handles on stairways, non-skid material should be placed on each step. This helps the elder have friction between the step and their feet or shoes. It helps to prevent tumbling from stepping onto a slippery surface.
Gripping handles should be placed next to the toilet and there should be at least two in the shower/tub area. It also helps to ensure that there are non-skid mats in place to prevent slipping and falling while entering and exiting the shower/tub area.
These home safety tips are important inclusions for all seniors, especially those that live alone, to have installed in their homes. Along with these measures should also come motion detected security lighting outside of the home and proper lighting inside the home. The initial cost pays for itself the first time the safety measure is put into use during an emergency or injury situation. Consider implementing one or all of these home safety measures for the senior/s in your life.