If you (or your parent) are approaching 65, you’ve probably already begun to think about what home modifications you might need. Seniors can benefit from home aides in so many ways that it’s easy to overlook a few as you start to take inventory. Here are nine pieces of safety equipment that you should consider adding to your own list.
1. Stepless Shower or Walk-In Bathtub
You’ll want to take special care as you account for bathroom safety as 80 percent of seniors’ falls happen in bathrooms. With water and slippery substances at play, the bathtub and shower can be particularly hazardous.
If you (or a senior you know) live in a two-story house, a stairlift may become necessary. Electric stairlifts increase household mobility while also making seniors’ daily routines much safer.
3. Removable or Handheld Showerhead
A handheld showerhead is useful to seniors. Sometimes, standing for the duration of a shower can become tiresome, so seniors are often much more comfortable sitting or lying down in the tub and using a handheld showerhead.
4. Bathroom Toilet Bars
Over half of all injuries in people over 85 occur near a toilet. This is partly because sitting and standing can become difficult as we age, and that is especially true when it comes to toilets. Toilets are often closer to the ground than your average seat, which makes standing up that much more difficult. Installing toilet bars can aid a senior in both getting up and sitting down.
5. Adjustable Bed
As we age, getting comfortable in bed tends to become more and more difficult. Additionally, we tend to spend more time in bed as we get older. Seniors have an easier time getting in and out of an adjustable bed as they can position it before standing up. For all of these reasons, an adjustable bed might be a necessary addition.
6. Motion-Activated Toilet Seat
A motion-activated toilet seat might also become useful as you (or your parent) continue to age. Restroom visits become more urgent, and backs become stiffer – sometimes it isn’t comfortable to bend over in a hurry. In fact, this could easily result in a pulled muscle or even a fall for senior adults.
While an automatic toilet seat might seem like a luxury product, it is actually an important piece of bathroom equipment for seniors.
7. Home Security System
Peace of mind cannot be overstated, especially if you are in a vulnerable position as a senior citizen. Retired seniors are often home during peak burglary hours, which puts them at physical risk. Additionally, homes without security systems are 300 percent more likely to be burgled.
8. Emergency Alert System
Emergency Alert systems are especially crucial for any seniors living or spending time alone. These systems typically work by contacting a list of phone numbers with your GPS location when you push a button. You can get them on a smartphone or on a separate single-purpose device.
9. Automatic Shut-Off Oven Safety Device
We all forget things, especially as we age. However, this can sometimes have dire consequences – for instance, an oven left on can quickly become a disaster.
Several types of devices ranging from surge protectors to specialty products can turn off ovens automatically if they are left on for too long, left empty for too long, left on after timers, etc. They are easy to temporarily disable if they get in the way of cooking.
Be sure to make several passes through your senior loved one’s home before you finalize any checklists. There are so many places and activities that can be potentially hazardous, so it is essential that you take your time.
Remember that 80 percent of falls occur in a bathroom and that people over 85 experience half their injuries near a toilet. Bathrooms are areas that you’ll need to take special care to make safe. Don’t forget to take into consideration other safety and tech tools that seniors can use for their safety and health.
Joseph Jones has been writing senior care and aging-related articles for years. He got his start while writing for a personal blog before he was offered to work at California Mobility in 2018 as the Content Marketing Manager, creating highly informative guides and health awareness articles for aging adults.
He’s currently contributing to a variety of blogs in the senior health industry in hopes to spread information about taking care of seniors and what to expect in the aging process.