Lately, my mother has begun to lose her mobility. It is hard for her to move quickly and her balance isn’t what it used to be. I bought her a cane and this seems to help her, but I am still worried. It would still be very easy for her, even with the cane, to trip and fall. What if she hit her head or broke a bone? I can’t always be there to help her, and when I suggested a home care professional, she laughed it off.
“Dear, I’m not that bad off yet. Why don’t we wait a while to see if that’s really necessary?”
What if there was a fire? Would she be able to move quick enough to get to safety?
Until I can get her to agree to have a full-time caregiver, I need to make sure her home is as safe a place as it can be. Here is a checklist I made up. I hope it can help you to ensure the safety of your loved one’s home as well.
Checklist To a Safer Home
1. Rugs and mats:
- Are rugs and mats secured to the floor or do they slide around? If rugs and mats slide they can be secured using double-faced adhesive carpet tape. You can also buy special slip resistant rugs that come with a rubber backing. But, make sure to check these periodically as well, as the slip resistant backing can become worn out and lose its stick.
- Do edges and corners of rugs lay flat to the floor or are they curled up? Curled edges are a definite tripping hazard and curled rugs should be replace.
2. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors:
- Are all detectors functional? Make sure to, regularly, check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Can your loved ones hear them from all areas of the house? In your tests make sure they are able to be heard in every room of the house and install additional detectors as needed.
3. Electrical outlets:
- Are any outlets warm to the touch? This may indicate improper wiring and a fire hazard. Unplug all cords from warm outlets and have an electrician analyze them a.s.a.p.
- Do any outlets have smudges around the sockets? If so, this may indicate a past short and, again, a fire hazard. Make sure to have an electrician check the outlet.
4. Phone and electrical cords:
- Are any cords running across the flow of traffic? This is a blatant tripping hazard. Make sure all cords are well out of the way, preferably running along a wall or behind a piece of furniture.
- Are any cords damaged? Damaged cords pose a fire and shock hazard. Frayed or cracked cords should be replaced.
5. Space heaters:
- Are all space heaters properly installed? Kerosene, LP gas and gas heaters usually require ventilation. If improperly ventilated, they can cause a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
- Are heaters well away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials? Each heater has its own recommended safe distance, make sure to follow all instructions and warnings provided by the manufacturer.
These are just a few quick suggestions, but they can cut down significantly on your loved one’s risk. Paying careful attention is often the best way to keep your loved one safe.
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.