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Making Your Home Elderly-Friendly
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Aug 21, 2015 |

It is natural for us to think about childproofing a home, but ordinary parts of a home could also become potential safety hazards for our loved ones as they age. Follow these simple steps to ensure you have a senior-proof home to protect their needs and be well-equipped for any emergency!

First Aid First

A well-stocked first aid kit is a necessity in every home. Be sure to store it in a common area which is easy for seniors to gain access to on their own. Use the checklist below to make sure you have the essentials (and continually replace expired items):


PRINT & KEEP: First Aid Kit Checklist
Adhesive tape
Safety pins (small and large)
Oral anti-histamines – for allergic reactions, rashes, bites and stings
Adhesive bandages (all sizes)
Sterile gauze pads – for cleaning wounds
Triangular bandages x 2
Antiseptic cream – for cuts and scratches
Broad elastic bandages x 2
Exam gloves – for infection protection
Anti-inflammatory gel
First aid scissors
First aid alcohol wipes x 10
First aid tweezers – for splinter removal
Anti-diarrhea tablets
Waterproof band aids
Anti-nausea tablets
Antiseptic Foot Powder

Design for Safety

The needs of the elderly may differ according to their physical condition. Seniors with narrowed visual fields and blurred vision may face difficulty in differentiating colours. To prevent any accidents, make sure task areas, entryways, hallways and steps are strategically lit. There are inexpensive LEDs that stick easily to the wall for this purpose. Wheelchair-friendly kitchens should eliminate base cabinets and drawers. In the bathroom, opt for an all-inclusive shower unit along with grab bars.

Prevent Falls

Falls are one of the most common sources of injury for seniors at home. A study found that almost six out of 10 injuries sustained by the elderly occurred at home and were due to accidental/environmental incidents (slip and fall, trip and fall or dark surroundings), which may be preventable. Ideally, to prevent falls on stairs, railings should be installed on either side and length of the stairs. Adhesive stair treads and carpet runners can also be useful in providing extra grip while climbing. Paint the bottom step a different colour to better distinguish the last step from the ground floor. Ensure all indoor and outdoor walking areas are repaired and free of clutter. You can also cover sharp corners of your furniture to prevent seniors from suffering any serious injuries from falls.

Tune into Technology

“Telecare” technology can support seniors’ wellbeing and help protect them at home. For example, installation of a panic alert alarm system will ensure that seniors are instantly connected to their loved ones in case of an emergency. Seniors with dementia are also encouraged to wear personal trackers so that their location can be identified by their carers. In addition, “telehealth” services - wireless devices for remote rehabilitation or monitoring - can save time and money for some patients by reducing the number of visits to the doctor. Do visit your local council or GP or check out other online resources for more information.

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