|Uncovering the Hidden Dangers in Aging Loved Onesâ€™ Homes|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Friday, 28 June 2013 08:48|
June is National Home Safety Month, and local senior care experts are encouraging adult children to add a simple, yet important duty to their list of summer chores: Conduct a "look and see" inspection of their parent's home
"Many seniors and their families don't think about the fact that homes must adapt to the changing needs of seniors as they age until an accident happens," said Bill M. Mullenhour, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Lima, Findlay, Bowling Green, Fremont and Celina.
"There are many potential hazards that could force seniors to lose their independence. Important safety areas to highlight in a senior's home run the gamut from accessibility to lighting to trip and fall hazards. A lack of attention to those details can jeopardize an older adult's ability to remain at home," Mullenhour said.
Many home safety improvements are simple and inexpensive, experts say. Convincing seniors, on the other hand, is another story. Danise Levine, assistant director of the IDEA Center at the SUNY (State University of New York) Buffalo School of Architecture, said that denial often comes into play with seniors.
"We see a lot of seniors who don't want to admit they're getting older so they don't want to make changes in their homes," Levine said. "Secondly, consumer education is an issue. If older adults do need help they often don't know where to go or how much things cost."
Seniors and their families might want to look for the following opportunities when performing a home safety assessment.
â€˘Â Â Â Examine dark pathways, corners and other areas where seniors regularly walk or read. Make sure all areas of the home have adequate lighting. Timed and motion-sensor lights outdoors can illuminate potentially dangerous pathways. Make sure that hallways and stairs are properly lit.
â€˘Â Â Â Avoid monochromatic color schemes. Contrast can help seniors with failing eyesight better navigate their homes. Large red and blue buttons over hot and cold water faucet controls will help prevent dangerous mistakes.
â€˘Â Â Â Look for ways to reorganize. Mom always put the black stew pot under the stove to keep the kids from breaking it. Perhaps now it belongs on a shelf beside the stove. And who says the eggs must go in the egg tray of the refrigerator?
â€˘Â Â Â Look behind clâ€˘Â Â Â Rather than a heavy mop and bucket, investigate light-weight, all-in-one mops. If your senior is replacing appliances, look for smooth-top stoves and refrigerators with water and ice on the outside. Change door knobs to levers, or purchase grips that can go on conventional knobs.
â€˘Â Â Â Look for ways to make entries safe. Make sure that railings into a home are in good repair and that steps and sidewalks are not damaged. Or eliminate steps altogether.
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