You don’t have to drill a thousand holes and spend a fortune to keep your elderly parent or loved one safe, notes Elderly Safety.
In fact, it may be as simple as a good, solid push. On a suction cup grab bar, for example, available from some online retailers for from about $13 to as much as $115 for a heavy-duty telescoping bar with super-grip capacity.
Still, $115 isn’t much to spend when considering a loved ones’ safety. And this particular grab bar, mounted in a potentially treacherous tile or plastic shower without tools, using only the pressure of a good, strong arm and a little moisture, will offer hours of peace of mind when you are not able to be with that loved one.
Other safety measures can be as simple to install, and offer as much peace of mind. For example, wireless security, at only $137.83, installs easily with mounting accessories included, and offers 100-foot range for houses or apartments as large as 3,000 square feet.
A 4-zone system, with 6 sensors per zone (including doors, windows and motion-sensitivity), can be customized to operate as the homeowner wishes, including various delay times, instant warning, chimes and even an emergency voice message for those instances where personal response might fail.
It also calls up to 9 separate phone numbers, and provides a 110-decibel siren – more than enough to provide both safety and security for aging parents or a spouse who must be left home alone.
Called the Door Guardian, this unique lock that doesn’t look like a lock offers strong but ingenious detention for Alzheimer’s victims.
It does not need a key, and opens by both pulling and rotating the unit out of the way on an inside door that opens into the room (but not on doors that open out). It is reportedly super-easy for caregivers to disconnect, but baffling to Alzheimer’s patients, thus ensuring that they can’t leave the premises untended.
It installs on wood or metal doors, and requires only a drill and a screwdriver, both of which are provided. It is not recommended for use on exterior doors, for obvious reasons, but mounted high on the jamb, or very low, it combines unexpected location with an unusual appearance to disguise its true function so that Alzheimer’s victims are not even tempted to fuss with it.
Motion Alert Devices
Sadly, some of our older loved ones are confined to a bed or a chair by their infirmities. It is a difficult situation for caregivers, but one that ensures greatest safety for those elderly who are too shaky to walk on their own, even to get to the bathroom.
For those individuals, installing a wireless remote alarm pad across the middle of the bed, or the seat of a chair, insures that shaky older individuals can be prevented from attempting to walk around on their own.
The pads operate on batteries or, alternately, an AC adaptor, and usually come with a washable, waterproof protector pad to guard against bladder accidents and leaks. About 10 inches by 30 inches, the soft vinyl pads trigger an alarm that can be located up to 100 feet away from the bed or chair, and offer a full, one-year warranty.
Other products requiring little or no installation, and offering hours of reassurance and comfort, include toilet and bath safety rails, lanyard-mounted pagers, cotton safety-transfer belts for walking and moving from place to place, bedside handrails that fit under the mattress and above the box spring, or even hospital beds, which can be purchased new or used, sometimes for as little as $50 in very good condition.
Or, for fragile but no longer dexterous older hands, consider a doorknob extender, which transforms a slippery door handle into a long, easy-to-grasp wedge that even the most arthritic hands can grasp.
The Baby Boomer generation is living longer than previous generations and according to the latest data released from the Administration on Aging, nearly 30% of older adults live alone. While many elders take pride in their continued independence, they may be more prone to suffering injuries while living alone. Elders are at a greater risk of being injured in an accident in the home involving a kitchen fire, accidental poisoning, slip and trips, and being struck by fallen objects that are out of reach.
Out of all of the accidents that occur in the home, falls are the most common and have some of the most long lasting effects.
Falls in the Home
Each year, 1 in 3 elderly individuals, 65 years or older, fall and 2.5 million older individuals are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. Falls account for 95% of all hip fractures and are the common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in older adults. Although many falls do not result in an injury, 1 out of 5 falls results in a serious injury, such as a fracture or TBI. As a result to falling in the home and being injured, many elders may be unable to call for help right away, fail to report their accident, or delay treatment. Additionally, once an elderly individual has fallen in his or her home, they may become more fearful of falling again (subsequent falls are common) and they may be afraid to go out and about.
Reasons Behind Falls
A fall in the home can happen for any number of reasons, some common risk factors include lower body weakness, Vitamin D deficiency, and the use of medications. Additionally, as an individual ages, it’s natural for the body to become weaker and issues with vision,mobility and balance, which can also lead to falls. Some other contributing factors leading to falls in the home include poor footwear, uneven floors or steps, tripping hazards like rugs or clutter, and ice or uneven pavement on sidewalks, stairs, or driveways outside of the home.
Reducing and Preventing Falls
When an elderly individual falls in his or her home, his or her independence may come to an end, requiring in home help or even moving to a nursing home facility. While a fall can happen when an individual is being careful, prevention can reduce the chances of falling. Here are some ways to decrease fall prevention in the home so elders can extend their independent living:
- Get a Checkup: Since issues like poor vision, medications, and even a Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of falls, it’s a good idea to have a check up and talk with your doctor about any medications you take to see if they can affect balance or increase dizziness.
- Stay in Shape: Getting exercise on a regular basis can help to keep your body more mobile and stronger. Consider taking a gentle yoga class to work on your balance and lower body strength.
- Improvements in the Home: Don’t wait until you fall to fall proof your home. Take a look at the lighting. Is it too low? Install handrails, remove tripping hazards, fix areas that are likely to increase your risk of falling.
- Ask for Help: Just because you live alone, it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything by yourself. Do you struggle with yard work, house maintenance, or shoveling snow? Ask someone to give you a hand.