Ensure Your Senior's Home Is Safe and Ready For Home Health Care Services
Reaching their golden years, our parents still want to remain independent and live their lives to their fullest. From this point, many senior citizens naturally prefer a home care option over a nursing home. And this choice is pretty understandable as there are several reasons why home care is the best option for modern older adults:
Home care provides for more personal, trustful relationships with a preferable caregiver;
A person gets to live and age in a familiar and comfortable environment;
Home care allows a senior to remain independent and in charge of their own lives rather than having to address nursing home personnel about every little (and sometimes really personal) thing;
Home care is the most inexpensive option.
Generally, if the health condition and the condition of the home itself allow it and don't raise any safety concerns, home care is, by all means, the preferable option both for the senior and their relatives.
The main question you may be asking yourself is whether home care is safe indeed? The question of safety between home care and nursing homes is one of the most debated ones between caregivers, seniors, and their relatives. On the one hand, it may seem that a nursing home is precisely the place where the elderly are surrounded by qualified personnel 24/7 and live in accommodations perfectly adjusted according to their needs. However, recent studies show that such aspects as the sense of independence, stability, and familiar environment associated with pleasant memories are crucial factors for seniors` well-being. In many cases, older adults' health conditions may start worsening or developing some unpredictable complications once they are taken away from the familiarity of their customary personal space.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to ensure that your parents are safe at home. That way, you can provide them the necessary care yourself with the help of a professional and credible caregiver and make sure to respect their personal space and independence.
In this article, we shall talk about providing safe home care for your parents, fundamental rules and principles of helping your elderly age in their place as long as possible.
The main hazards for a senior at home.
Before discussing how you can ensure that your parents are safe at home, let's determine what kind of dangers can generally occur for a senior who chooses to age in place.
Here are the main hazards for a senior at home:
Slip and fall incidents – statistically, over 36 million seniors slip and fall each year. About 3 million such cases require qualified medical assistance in emergency rooms. Almost 32,000 of those slip and fall incidents among seniors are fatal;
Health complications – when choosing home care for your parents, you must put extra effort into hiring a genuine professional, qualified, and credible caretaker. The availability of necessary medications and options to address for assistance is also crucial;
Fire hazards – over 1,700 home fire fatalities have already been reported in the United States in 2021. Most of the people who passed or were severely injured in home fires were citizens over 65 years old;
Issues with the building`s structure – almost 99% of households in the United States are affected by some level of water damage. It seriously alters the safety and structural sustainability of buildings. Molds, fungus as well as insects, and natural aging of construction materials and infrastructure can lead to the fact that the house itself, no matter how beloved and familiar, can become a death trap for a senior.
Make sure that home care is a safe option for your parents.
Now that we have identified the main hazards and safety focus points for seniors who choose to age at home let's see how you can evaluate and adjust the place to ensure your parents are safe in-home care.
Preventing Slip and Fall Hazards
There are two main reasons why a senior may fall inside a house:
Slippery and uneven surfaces;
Obstacles in the way.
When we talk about the safety difference between a nursing home and home care, people often mention that accommodations in facilities are adjusted to prevent such accidents. However, you can easily ensure that your parents are as protected from falling accidents at their own house as they might be under constant professional supervision:
Make sure to remove and secure all cords and cables in the house;
Remove all stools, flower pots, and other objects from the floor, which may become invisible in the dark or occur on a path where it may be out of the Senior's sight;
Place anti-slip rubber mats in the bathtub or shower cabin as well as the bathroom, toilet, kitchen, and all other areas where water can get on the floor, making it slippery;
Secure all the carpets and rugs as well as linoleum to prevent curls and bumps.
It is essential to make the navigation through the house simple and straightforward, remove all unnecessary decorative floor-stand objects and furniture, clearing passage to the essential and most frequently-used areas in the house. It is also very important to arrange to light the way that there would not be any dark spots in the house during the day, and your senior relative can easily find and use the switch at night.
Electricity and lighting at-home care
Proper arrangement of electricity and lighting in your elder relative's house is essential for the home care safety:
It reduces fire hazards;
It provides the necessary comfort and illuminance in the house.
The issues with electricity often appear during the change of season, when we start using HVAC more intensively. Seniors are often most sensitive to the change of temperatures, and therefore it is essential to conduct a thorough check-up for the heating and air conditioning units every fall and spring to make sure that they are safe and well-maintained.
It is also essential to track the proper function of all electrical appliances, address any issues on time or replace the malfunctioning device. Seniors often don't pay attention or simply cannot notice strange burning smells, sounds, sparkle, or other indications of a faulty electric device. It can lead to an electric shock or home fire – accidents most dangerous for the elderly.
As we have already mentioned, proper and thorough lighting is essential to prevent trip and fall accidents among seniors. It is also an essential safety matter as statistically, crimes and burglaries are most unlikely to happen in well-lit houses. Make sure that all light fittings work properly in your parents` house; they have the stock of extra lightbulbs and can replace them safely or address for assistance as soon as any of the lamps burn out.
Fire safety for seniors in-home care
The installation of smoke and fire detectors is essential for every room in a senior's house. The Elderly often have a weakened sense of smell and may simply fail to notice the first signs of a starting fire.
Of course, it is essential to inspect that detector regularly, make sure that they function, and have fresh batteries all the time.
Ensure that there is at least one properly functioning fire extinguisher in the house and your parent is able to reach and use it properly in case of emergency.
Safety of your parent's house
It is essential to conduct regular checks for the building where your parents live and eliminate all malfunctions as soon as possible. Many old buildings have problems with termites or rodents. They can chew on cables, plastic, and wooden parts of the building, making it less stable and secure.
Water damage, as well as its inevitable consequences like mold and fungus, may be dangerous, especially for seniors with chronic respiratory diseases and skin conditions.
While most of the repair can be a DIY project, some require professional skills and expertise. Anyway, make sure to check the building regularly or schedule a professional home inspection to get a thorough and qualified safety report.
Home health aide safety for seniors
The fact that your parent is staying under home care most probably means that there are no severe health issues and complications, which may raise concerns about their safety.
However, each condition may worsen under some circumstances or as a result of aging and the natural course of events. It is essential to remain alerted and pay attention to the slightest change in your parent's condition or behavior every time you visit them.
Hiring a professional and credible caregiver is another crucial factor. A person with vast experience in working with the elderly may notice symptoms and indications, which may remain invisible even for a senior and their relatives. It is also essential to keep track of all the necessary medical check-ups, procedures, and medications prescribed for your parent, follow and help them maintain the schedule, and provide stock and access to the necessary medication, nutrition, and healthcare appliances.
Home care is a wonderful option to make sure that your elderly relatives' age in a comfortable and familiar environment, surrounded by people and things they love. While properly organized with the help of a professional caregiver, it can provide all the necessary support and assistance to seniors and preserve their sense of independence and privacy at the same time.
Are you looking for home health care services in or around Philadelphia, PA?
If you are seeking senior in-home care for you or your loved one, then Sunflower Home Health Care Services is here for you. Our highly skilled team operates across Philadelphia and all surrounding counties, we pride ourselves on offering home care with a difference.
If you are unsure about whether or not your loved one is need of Home Care, click here to learn more about the top signs that your loved one may be in need of Home Care.
Our in-depth range of services can ensure you do not need to move your loved ones to a nursing home or other assisted living facility. We have a family-first approach, which means we treat everyone we work with as if they were part of our own family, giving you complete peace of mind that you or your loved ones are in the best care possible.
Sunflower Home Health Care Services offers a wide range of services including companionship, respite care, hospice care, taking vitals, housekeeping, meal prep, and other medical needs. So if you are looking for the very best care for yourself or your loved ones, get in touch with our team today.