Today’s Canadian seniors, who recently outnumbered the country’s children for the first time, are a busy group who aren’t planning to move house anytime soon. Nine of 10 seniors plan to remain in their homes as they age and studies confirm that, with the right support and lifestyle modifications, staying put is a sound strategy for long-term health and happiness.
With the holidays approaching, it’s important to boost senior safety at home during this festive season. Most of these practical measures reduce risk year-round, too – and a few make perfect gifts.
Hire help for snow removal: Slips, trips and falls while shovelling the white stuff are a major threat to senior safety and independence, not to mention a challenge to heart health.
Salt outdoor surfaces: No need to wait until an actual snow or ice event occurs. Salting outdoor surfaces before frozen precipitation hits reduces accumulation, increases traction and lessens fall hazards.
Pitch in on outdoor decorating: Hanging baubles and light strings demands tricky equipment maneuvering and dexterity that many older folks shouldn’t risk.
Choose flame-resistant decorations: Pine roping and fresh trees smell like the holidays, but firefighters battle devastating structure fires every year that are sparked by flammable finery.
Banish traditional candles: Battery-powered candles flicker, glow and last much longer than the real thing. They also significantly reduce fire risks.
Locate a fire extinguisher: Verify that senior homes have easily accessible fire extinguishers. The devices don’t last forever, so check expiration dates as well.
Tuck extension cords: If holiday decorations require electricity, make sure extension cords don’t run across walkways or under rugs.
Avoid floor set-ups: Place all holiday decorations off the floor to reduce trip hazards. Removing throw rugs – a major source of senior injuries – now is a good move that protects year-round.
A personal alert system: Gift idea! A sound investment during any season, these affordable systems provide peace of mind for seniors and their loved ones.
Grab bars in the bathroom: Gift idea! Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in senior homes as balance and vision decline with advancing years. Boost safety by installing grab bars in showers and beside toilets.
Lever-style doorknobs: Gift idea! As seniors’ hand strength and coordination wane, lever doorknobs are far easier to use than round styles.
Replace slippery flooring: Gift idea! This renovation is a splurge that doubles as an investment. Slip-resistant flooring protects older family members and increases home values.
Looking for more ideas to safeguard seniors? Organizations like this one outline specific projects for tailoring elder living quarters.