Home sweet home! Our homes are the places we go to relax and unwind. They provide us with essential features that we need for safety and comfort: roofs over our heads, warmth in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, protection from intruders and wild animals. They also house personal and fun elements that make us smile: photographs, trinkets, games. Protective, comfortable housing is especially important for seniors, who spend a lot of time in their homes and also have more fragile bodies. So if you know a senior moving into a retirement community, keep home safety for seniors in mind. Check that these features are included in the apartments and the rest of the facility, and if they aren’t, share your concerns with the staff.
Home Safety for Seniors
- EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION. It should be easy for your loved one to contact medical services and staff members in case of an emergency. Look for services like 24-hour emergency call response, medical staff on site, and accessible telephones (with emergency numbers listed near the phone).
- EMERGENCY PLAN. The staff members should provide a clear emergency plan for residents, so that no one is left wondering what to do should there be a fire, tornado, or hurricane. Your loved one should have a simple exit route in case of a fire and a safe place to go if there is a tornado.
- SECURE LOCKS. The locks on the doors should be secure and easy to use, so that residents feel confident in their own safety.
- SINGLE-STORY FACILITY. A retirement community that prizes itself on home safety for seniors should be constructed of single-story buildings so that there isn’t any need for the elderly to tackle exhausting and dangerous flights of stairs.
- UNOBSTRUCTED FLOORS. The floors should be flat, level, and free of obstructions, without any unexpected drops or bumps.
- NON-SKID FLOORING. All of the floors in the apartment and facility should provide good traction and prevent slips. Loose rugs should have non-skid backing, and the edges should lie flat. Finally, in the bathtub or shower, there should also be a non-skid mat or safety strips.
- GRAB BARS. To make it easier for your loved one to get up and down, there should be grab bars installed by the bathtub and toilet.
- GOOD LIGHTING. The apartment and facility should be well-lit throughout, especially on staircases and in hallways.
- SMOKE DETECTORS. There should be smoke detectors throughout and the batteries should be replaced regularly.
- NIGHT LIGHT. At night, there should be a night light in the bathroom to make nighttime bathroom breaks more comfortable and safe.
- CLEANLINESS. The facility and apartments should be kept clean and uncluttered. Housekeeping services should ensure that your loved one’s apartment is kept clean, odor-free, and pest-free.
- ACCESSIBLE STORAGE. Storage should be easily accessibly, preferably around waist-height.
- SOLID CONSTRUCTION. In general, the facility should be well-constructed and solid. If you notice any loose floorboards, shoddy craftsmanship, or anything else potentially dangerous, find another retirement community that places a greater emphasis on home safety for seniors.
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When we think about the features we most want in our homes, we rarely think about basic safety elements. We simply assume that our homes will be well-constructed and secure. If you’re helping a loved one research retirement communities, don’t make that assumption. Examine each facility during your tour and ask additional questions of the staff members to ensure that they make home safety for seniors a top priority. Your loved one’s safety and your peace of mind will be worth it.
To learn more about the amenities that Hearthside Senior Living Place provides, please click here.