Summer is as good a time as any to make sure the home of a senior loved one is free of hazards that could cause injury from falls, says Robert Morris, who runs a business that offers home care.
Morris and his wife, Traci, are franchise owners of a Home Instead office in Oklahoma City.
Senior care agencies and businesses can make home visits to inspect for potential hazards, Morris said.
The focus is to help clients remain in their own homes, with help if needed, “as long as they would like to be,” he said.
He recommends safety checks by family members or others once a year.
Home Instead’s recommendations for changes vary according to the age and condition of the house and the abilities of the resident and whether they use a walker or wheelchair.
The inspections are usually just a matter of common sense, such as looking for throw rugs or loose railings that can lead to falls and injuries, Morris said. A common problem is hoarding of magazines, books and knickknacks that can create fall hazards.
When there is a fall that causes a broken hip or leg, the person's “health can go downhill from that,” he said.
“The home should be the safest and most comfortable place for aging seniors,” he said. “Any home can be improved.”
To request an evaluation of the safety of a senior citizen's home, call Home Instead Senior Care in Oklahoma City at 521-1963 or in Edmond at 285-5510.
Another option for people over 55 who have a limited income is to contact Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit formerly known as Christmas in April, at 607-0464.
Rebuilding Together can perform home safety repairs, install grab bars and create tub cutouts to make it easier to step into a combination tub/shower, said Jennifer Thurman, executive director of the organization.
Another helpful piece of equipment is a raised toilet seat. These are easy to install and available at drug stores.
Rebuilding Together can also build wheelchair ramps and use contrasting paint on items like door frames and walls to make them easier for people with poor vision to see.
For more on senior safety at home, another source of information is a pamphlet available through the Areawide Aging Agency at 942-8500.
SENIOR SAFETY CHECKLIST
Source: Home Instead