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The Golden Age: Safe Homes for Our Older Loved Ones

Just as the trees turn to their golden time of year, many of us have loved ones coming into their own golden years. We would like to advise, however, that they do not make like a leaf and fall! Instead, we would like to see everyone taking a bit of time to make sure our older family and friends are safe in their homes by eliminating hazards and preventing injuries.

safe homes for elderly

Image by: Doug Robichaud

Falls are the leading cause of injury for older Americans, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. There is a serious injury every 13 seconds from a fall, and every 20 minutes someone dies. Most safety measures focus on preventing slips, trips, and falls, but there are other risks to older adults living at home. These additional risks include caregiver abuse, taking medications incorrectly, or fires.

If you have an aging loved one or maybe recognize that you need to exercise caution in your later years, consider the following measures to creating a safe home environment.

(This list is compiled from Sperling attorney experiences and these sources: You Should Know, Oct. 2015 ed.; a YouTube video by HealthinAging.org; and the CDC page on “Older Adult Falls”.)

Caregivers

Living at home, even with health or physical restrictions, is increasingly popular and easier to do with in-home caregivers. Caregivers are available for a variety of services that range from just checking in to all-day coverage and caring for all of their patient’s needs. Most caregivers are compassionate, patient, and competent in their field, but here are some warning signs of elder abuse and neglect to look out for:

  • Physical marks of abuse or neglect (bruising, lacerations, poor hygiene, bed sores, pressure ulcers, dehydration, infections, or malnutrition)
  • Emotional abuse (decreased social involvement, depression, sudden change of mood or awareness)
  • Financial exploitation (the older adult is having sudden and unexplained financial problems)

Around the Home

  • Keep emergency contact numbers readily available and easy to read. Be sure to include numbers for the poison control center, fire and police departments, family members and the family doctor.
  • Prevent falls with:
    • Good lighting and clear pathways
    • Non-slip rugs
    • Electrical cords moved away from any walkways to avoid tripping
    • Handrails in the bathroom (toilet, shower/bath)
    • Rubber suction mat or non-slip stickers in bath/shower
    • Stairs with handrails on both sides
    • In the kitchen, everyday items should be stored within easy reach, not too high or too low
    • Install nightlights in hallways, bathrooms and bedrooms
    • Shoes that are non-skid
  • Smoke and fire detectors that are functioning, tested, and loud
  • Medicine bottles with labels in large font in a well-lit area for easy reading

Personal Precautions

  • Regular exercise helps keep our bodies in shape to catch ourselves or heal faster.
  • Eye exams can catch any vision problems requiring a prescription update.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert device in the case of a medical emergency.

Sperling Commitment to Safety

The attorneys at Sperling Law Offices in Milwaukee want to remind everyone to check in with their older family and friends. If someone has a trouble area in their home, it’s best to get it taken care of before an accident happens. If you see a loved one suffering and it could be at the hands of another, do not hesitate to ask for a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Call 414-273-7777 or visit MilwaukeeLawFirm.com for more information.