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Safety tips for seniors who live alone

Matt Avatar By: Matt | Last updated February 14, 2019

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More and more senior citizens prefer to live independently and grow old in their own homes, rather than being put in nursing homes. While that’s understandable, it doesn’t mean it is always the safest way to go, unless you are fully prepared for that. Whether you have an aging mother, aunt, a grandma and so on, it is useful to know some safety measures and tips that will improve the life of the elderly, while still allowing them to feel independent.

  • Invest in a medical alert service/system for them. These can be landline based or mobile, depending on how active they are and how much time they spend around the house
  • Make proper adjustments in their home: security systems such as alarms, motion sensors, video intercom, more lightning (including nightlights), smoke alarms and so on. The kitchen and bathroom should be your key areas. You should install rails and grab bars, especially in the bathroom, anti-slip mats, a shower seat. If the house has more floors, keep a fire extinguisher on each floor. Install a stair lift if you have to. In their bedroom they should have a phone and light within reach and a flashlight, in case of any power outage. Have the fireplace/chimney checked, if the case, to make sure there’s no risk of smoke
  • Instruct your aging one to never leave cooking food unattended. They should also avoid cooking in loose, long clothes. Their kitchen appliances should be labeled with big, visible letters for ON and OFF positions.
  • Medication has to be labeled carefully and you should also buy them a pill dispenser. This way their meds will be properly organized and they’ll know exactly when and what to take. Also, instruct them not to self-administrate pills in case they experience any spontaneous affliction (headache, stomach ache, nausea, cold, etc.) They should always consult with a doctor before taking any new medication
  • Make a list with emergency phone numbers and make sure it is kept handy. The list should include 911, poison control, the number of a family member or close friend, their doctor’s number
  • Instruct them not to let any strangers inside and to not accept any phone or Internet offers. Talk to them about the most common phone and internet scams
  • Let them know not to overload circuits and unplug devices/appliances that they’re not using
  • Make sure they don’t leave their spare house key under the doormat or in flower pots
  • If they are disabled or walking and standing up is difficult for them, you can arrange for groceries to be delivered straight to their door. They can either do that on their own, online or by phone, or you can place the order for them. This way they won’t have to walk and spend time in lines at the supermarket
  • If they are still able to drive, inform them about the importance of servicing their car on a regular basis, even if there’s nothing wrong with it. Their car windows should never be left wide open while they’re not in the car and any valuables should be kept out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk.