From a Walk-in Shower to At Home Care: How to Keep Your Elderly Relative Safe
It goes without saying that the home is a place where you should feel relaxed, calm and ultimately, safe – whatever your age. Sadly, as we get older, the activities which at one point we would have seen as a simple daily task can become more dangerous and tricky – meaning that staying safe at home can be challenging.
Regardless of this, there are several simple factors older people can do to make sure they stay safe, comfortable and happy as they go about their independent lives. Here is our guide to keeping an elderly relative safe at home.
Preventing falls at home
One of the most significant issues elderly people encounter in the home is the risk of falling. The stats indicate that, in the UK, falls are the most common cause of injury related deaths in people over 75.
The best advice you can offer your elderly relative is – don’t rush! Falling over is frequently caused by such simple things as rushing to answer the house phone, feeling worried about missing a phone call, people will move faster than is comfortable. One of the best suggestions is to purchase a cordless phone so that they can carry it with them or get a phone that features voicemail, so they don’t need to rush to answer the phone.
Another good piece of advice is to wear non-slip footwear. This is very important on hard surfaces such as lino, tiles or hardwood flooring.
Make sure their floors are well lit (perhaps using night lights if required) and clear of obstacles. Common fall hazards include shoes on the floor and rugs. You can tape rugs down to prevent them moving when walked on. If they have stairs, be sure they use the banister when climbing or descending. They could opt for a stairlift or homelift if they have trouble with stairs.
Encouraging them to keep active is crucial. Regular exercise will encourage fitness, balance as well as coordination. Exercise need not be strenuous; a gentle walk can have a huge effect on your overall health and well-being. If you think you may be at risk of a fall, or have recently fallen, speak to your GP. They should be able to recommend strength and balance improving exercises as well as possibly referring them for a sight test.
It’s also important to realise that not all falls can be completely prevented, so you should have a system in place for this. The best solution for this is to use a personal alarm, which is our next tip.
Despite often being the smallest room in the home, the bathroom is often the most dangerous space for older people. A space that has both smooth hard surfaces and water can increase the chance of slips and falls.
There are a few measures you can take to improve the safety of your bathroom:
- If your elderly relative has a shower over the bath, it’s wise to put a rubber mat on the bathtub to stop any potential slips.
- Many people who have health problems may not be able to get into a traditional bath. Adding a walk-in bath to a bathroom is a perfect option for anyone with mobility issues. Walk-in baths will often feature textured floors that are non-slip, safety bars, low thresholds, comfortable seating, and controls that will be easy to use.
- Having grab rails installed in your bathroom is a good idea, grab rails near the toilet and shower can allow moving around the bathroom to be much safer than it would otherwise be.
- If your relative struggles with balance in their walk-in shower, then it could be worth investing in a shower seat. These are a great alternative to standing in the shower and minimise the possibility of slips and falls.
- If your relative has a personal alarm, be sure that the pendant button is waterproof, this will mean that you can wear it in the bath or shower so that if an accident does happen in these areas, they can call for assistance if needs be.
Getting up and down those stairs can be difficult for the elderly. They may get out of breath very quickly, or you could possibly trip and fall down. If you may have asthma or joint issues due to arthritis or osteoporosis, then they may have to consider a stair lift or homelift.
Stair lifts permit them to get up and down the stairs okay. There’s no need to worry about tripping up or running out of breath. They can sit down, relax as you will be carried up the staircase.
If a stairlift or homelift isn’t an option, then there are other ways for them to stay safe:
- Take their time walking up and down the stairs
- A relative or friend to assist
- Install a downstairs bathroom
Maintain Social Contacts
This final tip is certainly best for the reassurance that your relative is staying safe in their own home. By keeping in touch with others socially, this will improve their quality of life and also their mental health.
Loneliness has been shown to be very damaging, relationships are highly important now more than ever. Here are some top tips when it comes to staying in touch with those that you care for:
- Make the effort to meet up with family and friends often, this is important.
- Keep in touch the good old-fashioned way, send letters and photographs to those who live far away.
- Don’t be scared to give someone a ring for no other reason than to say hello! This kind of thing is really appreciated.
- Utilising new technology and using social media or WhatsApp to stay in touch with loved ones who may live further afield.
- Invest in a personal alarm and register those you trust as your emergency contacts
- By maintaining a strong support network, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that they have people to call on if they need them.
The Bottom Line: Staying safe at Home
As we have previously mentioned in this blog, keeping safe at home is a basic human right and it is one of the most important things for giving both yourself and your family the reassurance that your elderly relative – is happy and safe! There are lots of potential hazards in our homes but if you’re aware of the danger areas and unsafe habits, you’re more likely to be able to keep yourself from harm. Hopefully these are the simple steps you can take to protect your relatives.
Here at Bespoke Bathing, we know how important independence is for elderly people in the home. So with this in mind, walk-in baths give those more dignity and better control of their surroundings and home. Bespoke Bathing offers you a range of walk-in baths and disabled bath designs to select from. You can have a wonderful bath with hydrotherapy or install a stand-up shower area and convert your bath to a shower tub. We can transform your bathroom back into a warm and inviting sanctuary. Mobility issues can have a huge impact on quality of life for seniors and for people living with disabilities.
When easy movement is problematic, certain rooms in the house may pose more of a danger. Those of us who have to live with restricted movement often find our bathrooms can become a difficult and dangerous place to navigate. All of our baths are made in the UK, are equipped with low-threshold access and non-slip seating and standing areas. To organise a free quote and survey at your home, get in touch with the team at Bespoke Bathing.