Your Senior Safety and Wellbeing Checklist
As we approach Falls Prevention Awareness Day, now is the perfect time to review and update your senior safety and wellbeing checklist. And if you don’t have one, now is the perfect time to create it. Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, having a checklist in place is a great way to assess one’s ability to live independently and may help you decide if some part-time or full-time assistance is required.
There are several categories that make up a comprehensive senior safety and wellbeing checklist:
Cognitive function and communication. This includes items like recognizing loved ones, showing any signs of memory loss, and the ability to hold a conversation without getting confused. It also includes experiencing confusion when doing everyday, routine activities, and being able to clearly communicate needs and wants. Paying attention to cognitive function and communication is crucial, especially because it tends to deteriorate very slowly and is sometimes difficult to detect at first.
Health and medications. No matter how good your health is this is an important one, and includes things like getting regular medical, dental, and vision check-ups. Your senior checklist should also include remembering to take daily medications and being aware of any changes in weight, behavior, mental or emotional health.
Food, nutrition, and kitchen safety. While eating a balanced diet is important this category includes much more, like being able to go food shopping and carry the groceries home, preparing meals, and being aware of foods and drinks that can interfere with any medications. It also includes keeping a well-stocked fridge and ensuring all items are within easy reach. As you age it’s common to experience a decreased appetite, however it’s essential to get adequate nutrients daily and to stay hydrated.
Home and bathroom safety. You spend the majority of your time at home, so ensuring your environment is safe and comfortable is essential. This includes checking for potential hazards like sharp corners, loose rugs you could trip on, and steep staircases. It also includes having emergency alert functions in all rooms of your house, railings on both sides of all stairs, and easy access to fire extinguishers. The bathroom can be a particularly hazardous place.
According to the CDC, 30% of adults aged 65 and over who sustained injuries in bathrooms were diagnosed with fractures, and for adults aged 85 and over, 38% required hospitalization due to their injuries. It’s critical to ensure you can climb safely in and out of the tub. Install anti-slip grips and floor mats throughout.
Making your home as safe as possible
Feeling safe and comfortable in your own home is essential. As we age, we experience reduced mobility, we tend to get more aches and pains, and some of us experience vision and/or hearing loss. It’s important to take these factors into account when assessing the safety of your home, and to recognize any injuries or limitations you have that may limit your ability to do everyday tasks. For example, if you have difficulty seeing in dim lighting, be sure all areas of your house are sufficiently lit, especially staircases, the bathroom, and your bedroom. Adequate lighting helps you avoid tripping hazards and allows you to navigate safely.
In addition to protecting yourself from all the potential dangers inside your home, you may want to invest in a home security and monitoring system. This includes things like an alarm system, motion-sensor lights around the perimeter of your home, and CCTV cameras for your property.
If you’d like more information about Collingswood, our assisted living community in Camden County NJ, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.