Health conditions and the five senses decline as seniors grow older, turning previously easy tasks into huge obstacles. As a result, it is imperative to take precautions to ensure that seniors are safe in their own homes.
Health Conditions that Require Home Safety Modifications
Health conditions that can put our loved ones at risk for serious injury include:
- Impaired motor skills
- Balance issues
- Mobility problems
- Confusion or dementia
However, seniors that display these signs do not automatically need to be placed in assisted living or skilled nursing care. Most seniors want to stay in their home as long as possible, and it is very beneficial to their health to stay at home as long as they can. This is especially true for seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Changing Senses that Benefit from Home Safety Modifications
When our loved ones get older, their hearing, vision, taste, touch and smell can change quickly in the following ways:
- Hearing: Our balance, which is controlled by our ears, becomes affected as we age.
- Taste: As we age, our taste buds decrease in both mass and amount, which makes distinguishing tastes more difficult.
- Touch: The reduced sense of pain and temperature is due to decreasing blood flow to nerve endings.
- Vision: In addition to eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration that become more common as we age, pupil size decreases over time. When a person reaches age 60, their pupils are about one-third the size they were at age 20.
- Smell: Due to loss of nerve endings and less mucus in the nose, one’s sense of smell can drastically be reduced, especially after age 70.
If your loved one experiences declining senses, it is important to take all precautions to accommodate this lack of sense.
Take Precautions to Make a Senior’s Home Safer
By taking preemptive measures to review your loved one’s home once a year, you can reduce their risk for injury and help ensure their safety. We can help them by performing a room-by-room safety check. Bedrooms and bathrooms lead the way for the most unsafe areas in the home, and attribute to falling – the most common type of injury suffered at home. In fact, there are many things that we would not normally consider obstacles in the home that could cause a senior to fall. Use this checklist when completing a room-by-room safety check to help seniors safeguard their home.