Tag Archives: Senior Safety

How Caregivers Can Create a Safe Environment for Their Patients


As a caregiver, you have many important things to remember and jobs to fulfill. One area that’s essential for your patients is creating a safe environment. Whether it’s in their home, a facility or even the hospital, there are steps you can take to create a place that’s safe and comfortable without undergoing an entire remodel. Simple steps, such as keeping medication within arm’s reach and removing slippery rugs, can make a huge difference.

Here are seven ways to make a space safe for your patients.

1. Start With the Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the easiest places for an accident with constant movement such as bending, sitting, leaning over and more. Depending on the person’s level of activity, you can purchase a portable toilet seat that sits on top of the toilet, so your patient doesn’t need to get up from sitting. You can also install adjustable tub seats or grab bars to make getting in and out of the bathtub or shower easier.

2. Keep the Bedroom Close to Family Activity

If your patient is still living at home, you want to make the space feel normal and safe. Consider moving the master bedroom toward the hub of the family if it’s currently located somewhere else. Try to position it so your patient has views of the outside world through a window or a sliding glass door. You can even rearrange the furniture for clear pathways and put the bed in a place where your patient can access it from all sides.

3. Keep Outdoor Spaces in Good Condition

It’s easy to think of a home modification as just the interior, but the exterior is just as important. You want your patient to have a beautiful outdoor space with plenty of room for them to enjoy certain activities. For example, try repairing any broken steps and installing plenty of lights in case your patient wants to sit outside at night. You can even get creative with colorful furniture or a swing that catches the eye and serves as a focal point.

4. Try Window Film

More hospitals and health care facilities are starting to use window film for protection and energy efficiency. For example, window film can help prevent damage from harsh weather conditions and give your patient greater peace of mind about their home or living situation. Specially designed window films will help shattered glass hold together in places where damage and burglary could occur. Try installing window film in your patient’s home to give it some extra protection.

5. Pay Attention to Floors

Floors can be a safety hazard all on their own. Scatter rugs, frayed carpet or loose edges can all cause your patient to trip. Remove what you can and tape or tack down the loose carpet edges. In the bathroom, try putting safety strips or a nonskid mat at the bottom of the tub to keep the individual from falling. If certain shelves or closets are too high, leave a step stool on the floor of the kitchen or bedroom, so your patient isn’t tempted to stand on a chair.

6. Keep Important Items Within Reach

Odds are your patient would like to keep a level of autonomy. An easy way to grant their wish is by keeping their important items within reach. For example, put a night light on their bedstand along with their medication. In the kitchen, you can keep their favorite snack on the table. Put their toothpaste and toothbrush on top of the bathroom sink. It’s the little things that can make a difference in how they move around.

Make the Environment Comfortable

It’s important to create a safe environment for your patients, but you shouldn’t sacrifice comfort. Give them all the tools they need to live safely and comfortably in your home, and you will exceed a job well done.

About the Author: Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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Home Safety Tips for Seniors


We welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Maria Alice, to The Purple Jacket!

We all value our independence and autonomy, both of which are threatened as a person gets older. It’s always better for an elderly person to continue to live in their own home, in familiar surroundings, where they are comfortable. For the majority of the elderly, this arrangement is possible with the right support. In today’s world, safety and home monitoring are easier than ever before.

Home Security

One of the best ways to keep your elderly loved one safe is to have a home security system installed. You can find more information and great resources about different kinds of systems here. The benefit is two-fold: this gives your elderly family member a way to signal if there is a medical emergency, and it also provides protection from outside threats. It’s not pleasant to consider that elderly people living alone might be targets of crime, but unfortunately criminals prey on those least able to defend themselves.

Safety in the Bathroom

The bathroom can be a hazard for older people, whose vision and balance will most likely not be as good as it once was. Slipping in the tub and falling is a common source of injury in the elderly and can have tragic results, especially for those who live alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five falls among the elderly leads to broken bones or a head injury. Steps can be taken to minimize risk, such as installing a step-in shower or adding a slip-proof surface to the bottom of the tub. Handrails can also be a major help to senior citizens and should be installed next to the toilet and in the shower.

Lighting and Clutter

Memory and mental function are often impaired in older people, especially those in the early stages of dementia. Sufficient lighting can make a big difference in preventing accidents, as can keeping the home clear of obstacles. The old saying, “a place for everything and everything in its place” was never more appropriate than when describing the kind of environment an elderly person needs. As memory fades, it’s more important than ever for everyday necessities to be within reach and in a familiar place.

Home Hazards

Anything that poses a threat to the safety of your loved one should be put away or safety-proofed. Sharp knives may need to be removed from the kitchen. Hazardous corners should be covered with plastic bumpers. Make sure that there is a clear path to follow from one room to another throughout the house, since the risk of falling increases with age.

Carbon Monoxide and Fire Alarms

Besides a security system, carbon monoxide and fire alarms are two other ways that modern technology can help keep your elderly parent or loved one safe. Because memory in seniors can decrease, there is always the possibility they may turn on an appliance and then forget about it. It is also difficult to determine that there is carbon monoxide in your home without an alarm so it is important to have one installed and checked regularly.

Road Map to Independence

Taking these steps will increase the likelihood of an elderly individual living a safe and happy life in their own home. A security system will provide health and safety monitoring, and modifications to the bathroom can have a great impact on an elderly person’s mobility and independence.

Securing the environment from hazards by providing plenty of lighting and eliminating clutter are first steps toward creating a safe home. And of course, every home should have carbon monoxide and fire alarms to protect the people inside. With these steps, you can provide your elderly loved one with the independence and satisfaction that comes from continuing to live in their own home.

Maria Alice is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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