Everyone ages: it’s an unfortunate side effect of being human. As we age, our bodies start to function differently, and these changes bring with them new challenges. It may be harder to climb stairs or reach for items on a high shelf. Some people lose range of motion in their hips, while others find that their eyesight or hearing isn’t what it once was. Everyone is different, and the challenges aging brings with it will differ for everyone. This is why home safety audits are so important.
As you find new aging challenges in California to deal with, you may find that your home is no longer as accommodating as it once was. If you have difficulty with your balance or with walking, for example, a two-story home may no longer be functional for you. It’s possible for the home you love to actually become somewhat dangerous, which is why it’s important to have a home safety audit done.
These audits are designed to highlight areas that may be a challenge to seniors, including tight spaces, slippery floors, steps, and other issues. It doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your home, but it can indicate where some changes might need to be made. Reliant Home Care Services can do one of these home safety audits for you, and then help you determine what you need to do to allow your loved one to remain safe and secure in their home.
The Importance of Home Safety for Seniors
Home safety is vital for seniors because if they hurt themselves, it could be very serious. In fact, if you were to fall and hit your head, it could even be fatal in some circumstances. According to the CDC, over 36 million seniors fall and hurt themselves every year. Out of those, over 32,000 do result in death. The rest often suffer from issues such as broken arms or broken hips due to loss of bone mass. While no one wants to deal with a broken bone, seniors may find that they’re laid up for longer periods of time as the older you are, the longer it often takes to heal.
Being injured can have more than physical consequences, too. Seniors may find themselves feeling more isolated than usual because they’re unable to leave their homes until they heal up. This can lead to depression, which can continue even after you heal and can resume your daily activities.
Seniors who live alone are especially vulnerable because it could take hours or even days for help to arrive. If a senior falls and doesn’t have a phone nearby, they may not be able to contact anyone to come assist them. Even if they do have someone who comes by every day or every few days, it could still be quite some time before someone arrives.
What is a Home Safety Audit?
A home safety audit starts with a walkthrough of your loved one’s home. A professional with experience in home safety will examine every area of the home, including the exterior and the garage, and compile a list of areas that could be dangerous. These include obvious areas such as steps and slippery tile floors, of course, but they also may include things such as rugs that could shift or areas that are poorly lit. They will also look for areas that could be improved, such as bathrooms that do not have grab bars.
The experts who handle these audits are often trained in areas such as physical therapy or home health. They also understand things such as ADA accommodations. While it’s possible for you to identify a few areas in the home that could be risks, an expert will find many more.
What will these experts audit? Senior home safety in Riverside typically starts with commonly used areas such as the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Our goal is to make certain your loved one can walk through the space safely, get up and down easily, and complete daily tasks with little or no difficulty. We may suggest removing rugs or taping them down, adding railings and grab bars, replacing dim lights with brighter ones, and even widening doorways if necessary. Some of these changes may seem minor, but they can have a major impact on your loved one’s safety.
Common Home Hazards Addressed in Safety Audits
What hazards will we look for? Here’s a list of some of the most common senior mobility and safety issues we find:
- Tripping hazards such as rugs, cables, or clutter
- Uneven flooring
- Steps with loose railings or railings that are too low
- Slippery tile floors
- Lack of support bars in the bathroom and kitchen
- Lack of a no-slip bathmat in the shower
- Low toilets
- Poor lighting
- Furniture that is clustered too close together
- Hallways that are too narrow
- Chairs or tables that would collapse if leaned upon
- Loose floorboards
- Items that are stored too high up and could fall if a person tried to get them down
- Lack of stair treads on steps
- For those struggling with dementia, we might suggest labeling cabinets and drawers, creating a list of important phone numbers, and making use of a calendar to remember important dates.
We also look for potential fire hazards. We may recommend moving items away from the cooktop or suggest moving candles away from potentially flammable items. We may also recommend having a professional electrician assess the wiring in the home if it appears to be outdated.
Implementing Safety Recommendations
Once we’ve compiled a list of safety hazards, we will sit down with you, your loved one, and anyone else involved to go over these issues. Our goal isn’t to tell you what you must do to the home. We’re just here to point out the potential risks we see. It’s always you and your loved ones’ decision. However, we do often find that people want to remain in their homes, even if they have to make some changes, instead of moving into an assisted living facility.
Some of these solutions may be fairly simple. For example, moving candles and putting rug tape under rugs may be enough to reduce some risks. Others may take a little more work. Installing railings and grab bars is still a fairly easy task, and they’re typically very affordable. In most cases, you won’t need to purchase any new tools, and while you may need to hire a professional for some tasks, you or a loved one can make many of these changes.
The biggest potential costs are if you need to modify or renovate certain areas of your loved one’s home. For example, if you need to widen some doorways or hallways to accommodate a wheelchair, that can involve bringing in contractors and other professionals. Often, these investments are worth it. In addition to giving your loved one more years in their home, these modifications can also help the house sell more quickly when it does come time to put it on the market.
How Reliant’s Home Safety Audits Stand Out
Reliant’s home safety audits are designed around giving your loved one the life they want. We create a personalized approach to every home audit that revolves around their needs. While we do have a standardized list of items to look for, we also take your loved one’s health and capabilities into consideration. If your loved one is dealing with mobility issues, we will make certain they’re able to navigate their spaces without any issues. If they are struggling with their eyesight, we’ll pay special attention to lighting and other issues that could make it difficult for them to see.
Our home audit is just the first step, too. Our home care providers will be fully briefed on what changes we’ve suggested and on what challenges your loved one faces. They may notice additional safety concerns as they work with your loved one on a regular basis, and they will work with you and your loved one to address them.
Let Reliant Handle Your Home Safety Audit in Riverside County
Your loved one deserves to be safe in their own home. While some may be ready to take advantage of what assisted living has to offer, others may not want to give up their homes just yet. However, they may also face challenges that do present safety risks. That’s where a home audit comes in. The first step in keeping your loved one safe is to know what poses a risk. By having Reliant conduct a thorough home audit, you’ll know what proactive changes you should make to ensure that your loved one is comfortable and safe in their own home.
Once we’ve finished our audit, we can work with you and your loved one to arrange any necessary updates to the home and to coordinate in-home senior care. You may only need us a few times a month to provide respite care, or your loved one may need someone to come every day. We will work closely with you to create a customized schedule of care that addresses all of your loved one’s needs. Reach out to Reliant Home Care Services today to learn more about what we offer.