One of the hardest moments my grandmother had before passing away was admitting that she finally couldn’t live alone in her home anymore. She had lived in the same house since first moving to Brooks, Alberta. And even though she was in her mid-nineties and my grandfather had passed away years ago, she had remained in that house ever since and had no desire to leave it. She was lucky to have a boarder living with her in later years that helped her a great deal and a home care nurse that visited a few times a week to assist her with simple tasks, but we still worried about her living alone.
With so many members of the population reaching twilight years, senior safety is an important topic right now. And if your parents or grandparents are living unassisted, taking a few simple steps to ensure the house is safe just makes sense! Get started with these three steps:
Be Prepared for Fire
Remembering to check the batteries in a smoke alarm is something that everyone occasionally forgets. To ensure that smoke alarms in your family member’s home are operational, make a habit of changing the batteries and checking the alarm at the same time you check your own. Or, for even more peace of mind, consider replacing traditional alarms with ones that are hard-wired into the house’s electrical system so dead batteries aren’t a concern. And make sure the occupants have a sensible escape plan! Climbing down a rope ladder from a second story window might make sense for young adults, but can be far too hazardous an option for seniors.
Protect Against Theft
Hiding a key outside in case it’s forgotten is a common-sense way to ensure that Mom or Dad is never locked out in an emergency. But having that key exposed for anyone to find can be a danger when it comes to home security. The Master Lock 5422D Key Safe is the perfect compromise. Lock it on the property, store a spare key inside and then open it with a numerical combination if you ever need the key. It will provide great peace of mind knowing that your loved one can’t be locked out of the house, but that the spare key can’t be stolen or used by anyone else. For inside the house, secure valuables and essential papers in the SentrySafe Combination Fire Safe. It protects against fire, flood and theft so even in the event of a break-in, important items will be safe. And with the option of opening the safe either with a numerical combination or with two keys, seniors can pick the best option for them.
Plan for Injury Prevention
A simple fall is usually no big deal for a healthy young adult, but it can be devastating to a senior. If mobility is starting to become an issue for your parents or grandparents, a few simple changes in the house can make a big difference. Consider installing grab bars in bathrooms or stairwells and adding grips to slippery surfaces and smooth floors. Removing loose throw rugs is another simple way to help minimize falls. And double-check to make sure essential items are within reach rather than stored on high shelves. A little reorganizing can be a quick and easy way to make a home safer for an older resident.
With my dad in his eighties and living on a remote acreage in rural Saskatchewan, I know firsthand how worrisome it can be to have an elderly parent living alone. In my dad’s case, I’m lucky that he still lives with his wife so he won’t be helpless in the event of an emergency. And with a few simple additions to the house and a little work organizing for maximum mobility benefits, I can rest easy knowing that even though he lives in a remote area on his own, he’s ready for anything!