When Home Is No Longer Safe for an Older Loved One: A Home Safety Checklist

when home safety for older adults is not longer safe

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

blog-family-decision-guide

 

When someone you love is unsafe (especially an older loved one), feeling afraid, stressed, helpless, and even a little guilty is normal. The home safety of an older loved one is crucial, and it takes everyone, including family, friends, neighbors, and professionals, to ensure their safety. Older adults who live alone are more at risk for falls, burglaries, fires, accidents, and wandering.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, older adults are six times more likely to be treated at the emergency room due to a fall than younger people, and older adults are 3.5 times more likely to die in fires than the general population.

With nine out of 10 people wanting to age at home, family members must know how to prepare and modify their homes for safety.

How do you keep an older loved one who’s determined to live at home safe, then?

Here’s a home safety checklist to help.

General Home Safety

Keeping your loved one safe is your utmost priority, and with careful planning, you can ensure a secure and safe home with the following changes:

  • Adding chair lifts to two-story homes
  • Wider doors to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Lever handles on doors and windows
  • Install adequate lighting throughout the home, especially in hallways, stairways, and bathrooms
  • Consider a ranch-style home
  • Keep emergency contact information available throughout the home
  • Install a security alarm and cameras
  • Enlist a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out or check in on loved ones

Download this informative Family Decision Toolkit for additional guidance and information.

Kitchen Safety Checklist

Your loved one will spend time in the kitchen, and you want to ensure the kitchen is well-organized and safe for meal preparation and dining.

Implement the following kitchen updates to minimize accidents:

  • Replace older small appliances with ones with automatic shut-off technology
  • Relocate ovens to a more accessible location and height
  • Add fire extinguishers in easy-to-reach locations
  • Organize kitchen cabinets so that frequently used items are within reach
  • Install ample lighting above the stove, sink, and countertops
  • Have an electrician inspect wiring and outlets and repair or update anything that is not safe or up to code

Bathroom Safety Checklist

Without the following changes, the bathroom can be the source of severe injuries for older adults:

  • Install non-slip pads, strips, and grab bars in showers and tubs
  • Purchase raised toilet seats with non-slam lids
  • Install a shower stool, chair, or bench
  • Remodel showers to a walk-in design
  • Upgrade bath and shower faucets with ones with anti-scald temperature valves
  • Remove slippery rugs from bathroom floors
  • Install an adjustable or hand-held showerhead

Technology Checklist

The following technical advancements are making it easier for older adults to retire safely in the comfort of their homes:

  • Fall detectors: home sensors, wearable pendants, wristbands, and monitors can distinguish between falls and regular movement, in addition to alerting family and emergency personnel if a person falls
  • Smart home technology: speakers or voice assistants that help homeowners adjust thermostats, play music, make calls, and turn off lights
  • Automated medication dispensers: devices that use voice recognition, automatic alerts, and video calling capability to remind older adults when it’s time to take medication

Wrap-up and Next Steps

This checklist will help you make the changes that will ensure the comfort, safety, and security of your loved one.

You’ll both sleep a little better at night!

Download this informative Family Decision Toolkit for additional guidance and information.

 

 

blog-family-decision-guide