7 Tips to Make Life Safer for Your Elderly Relatives

Feeling safe in your own environment is vital for everyone. For many of us, home security is a top priority and for the elderly this is even more essential – especially when they are living by themselves.

As relatives or friends, we strive to visit regularly or call to see how they are, but for a completely secure and safe environment there needs to be more than that, so we check out some tips to help make life safer and easier around the home for your elderly relatives.

Security Systems

A valuable investment for all of us, installing a home security alarm will help to protect seniors from outside threats such as thieves. It can also act as an SOS device, with most good systems including a ‘silent alarm’ or ‘panic button’ beside the bed should anyone gain entry.

The features and capabilities of security systems should be carefully compared to ensure it best meets your needs. Many systems can also act as a monitoring device and detect fire, temperature and carbon monoxide levels and warn at the first sign of danger. To ensure the device is properly working at all times, it’s important it’s checked at least twice a year.

Fencing

Security fencing is the best ‘first line of defence’ around the home. It is another top-of-the-list investment and is an effective way to keep intruders out. A sturdy fence is a good way of saying “this is my house, my property”, and will often put intruders off just by being present. Taller fences are ideal for high-threat neighbourhoods or homeowners wanting a stronger sense of security, working effectively to prevent even the most determined attempts over and through.

Gate Access

For elderly people who drive, staying safe coming in and out of their property is just as important as safety when they’re inside the home. Driveway gates add extra protection to the property and can be installed with remote access.

Having a secure gate access device promotes safety, prevents crime, keeps suspicious individuals out of the area and gives the homeowner privacy. The most common methods can include anything from key access, magnetic strip card, pin code or remote control so you don’t have to get out of your vehicle until you’re behind the safety of closed and locked gates.

For added benefits, voice communication or an intercom and video system gate access can be advantageous for the elderly homeowner, so they have contact from inside the building before they let anyone into the property.

Doors and Windows

Doors and windows should be locked at all times and fitted with security screens. Elderly people should ensure that only close family or friends have a spare key to the home in order to check on them, if necessary.

Security film or Plexiglass can be placed on the inside of windows to make it more difficult for criminals to attempt break ins. Windows and doors fitted with security screens will enable elderly people to still have fresh air come through the home on warmer days without sacrificing their safety. These are especially useful in bungalows (a popular home choice for the elderly) as the ground floor windows throughout the home make it easier for intruders to gain access without the right security measures in place.

Lighting

Security lighting should be installed around the home. A house that is well-lit often tells criminals that people are home and they will be less likely to attempt a break in, while automatic lighting will alert the elderly homeowner that someone is approaching the door.  These can also be set to come on at intervals when no one is home to make it look like someone is still there.

Adequate lighting both in and around your home will also help to prevent accidents and injuries – these normally result from dark and dim areas that make it difficult for the elderly to see.

High Prone Accident Areas

Areas like the kitchen and bathroom are high prone accident areas so should be fitted with hand rails and non-slip mats for safety. Rails should be in the shower, bath tub and near the toilet. If the home has stairs, make sure the area is cleared from anything that can be tripped over and handrails are installed up the entire length on both sides of the staircase. For required cases, a chair lift can be installed for the staircase.

If the home has rugs, use double sided tape to keep small rugs down and prevent tripping over hazards. Be sure that nothing wet is left on the floor and any broken or chipped tiles and flooring are fixed.

Regular Visits

There is nothing more valuable than a regular visit from family or friends. It will also ensure there aren’t any emergencies so if you can’t always make it in; a phone call is a good idea too.

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