Keeping your independence and 'aging in place' in your home is a wonderful thing to hold on to for as long as possible. However, as we age, it is easy to find ourselves in troublesome situations. This article gives a few tips for how to create a safe environment in your home and how to plan for an emergency.
Clear Walkways to Prevent Falls
Fall prevention is crucial to staying safe and healthy. A single fall could lead to serious injury. The best thing you can do to ensure you don't fall or trip on something is to examine all walkways in and around your home and keep them clear. Remove unnecessary chairs, cabinets, or other furniture that have pieces sticking out that you could trip on. Keep shoes put away on racks and clothes hung up. Have a pet? Make sure their toys are kept in a designated spot as those can easily be tripped on as well.
Install Things to Help with Balance
A carpet always bunches in one place? Fix it with some carpet tape. Your bathroom tile gets slippery when wet? Buy floor mats or apply non slip flooring. It's a good idea to install railings near any steps as well as in the shower. A shower chair and a detachable shower head can also be very useful as you bathe. Whatever it is, there is a solution, and it might make all the difference!
Ensure Smoke Alarms and Co2 Detectors are Working
Catch a fire or a Carbon Monoxide leak quickly by having working detectors. Many smoke detectors have a Co2 detector built in, so you don't need to worry about getting separate systems.
As you double check that these are working, it's also a good time to plan your exit in case of an emergency. Which door will you exit from? What if you need to exit from a window? Be sure you can open and close doors and windows easily. And, if you live on the second story or higher, you may want to purchase a fire ladder to be able to exit from an upstairs window.
Arrange for Someone You Trust to Stop By
Arrange for a friend, family member, or neighbor to check up on you however often you feel would be wise. In case you get yourself into a tough spot, you know that that person will be around shortly. Not only does this ensure you can get help when you need it, but it's also important to have social interaction with others on a regular basis. Even a quick chat once a week can significantly improve your happiness and your health.
Get Connected with a Personal Emergency Response System
A Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) is a pendant that you wear around your neck that connects to your emergency contacts and emergency personnel when you are unable to get to a phone. By keeping this pendant on you at all times (yes, you can even wear it in the shower!) you don't have to worry about being stuck in a bad spot. The PERS unit connects to GPS so you can take it with you out of the house as well.
Here at the Walla Walla Senior Center, we offer PERS units for just $45 a month with no contract - you can cancel any time. These pendants include fall detection to automatically call for help if you fall. You can learn more about the PERS pendant by visiting our website or by calling (509) 527-3775.
While it may seem like preparing for an emergency takes a lot of time and effort, it is completely worth knowing that you are protected from falls, fires, and more. What steps will you be taking to find peace of mind in your home? Can you think of any other steps that we didn't mention in this post? Share them in the comments!
Please note that if you purchase any of the products in this article using the links provided, the Walla Walla Senior Center may earn a small commission. All proceeds go right back into the Senior Center and allow us to provide services, free of charge, to older adults in the Walla Walla Valley. Thank You!